Funny and Humorous Technical Support Tales and Stories

Submitted Tales From Technical Support

Tales From Technical Support Content

A fishy problem
Posted 06/01/2000 by "matthew"

This is perfectly true.

I worked as an in-store technician for a major british P.C. retailer.

One day I get a call from an irate customer. "The P.C. you people sold me does not work." I tried the ususal trouble shooting with this P.C. illiterate customer, but the P.C. would not power up at all The customer was also complaining of a funny smell coming from the P.C.

The customer dropped the P.C. off the next day just before I clocked off and forgot about it.

The next day i turned up to work to find the whole store stank of fish. It wasn't just a plain fish smell, it was rotten and putrid. My colleague who had opened the store in the morning had a hangover and left the store vomiting with the smell to go home and recover. Needless to say any potential customer that walked into the store about turned and left immediately holding their mouth.

After a heavy spray of deodorant around the area and with a cloth over my nose I located the source of the offending smell, the P.C. that had been brought in yesterday.

Gingerly I took the cover off to see what it could be, the main smell came from the power supply, with was covered in brown, burnt flaky fish, probably tuna.

It appeared that somehow some tuna had "found" it's way in to the power supply through the air vents, had then been powered on and the P/Supply fan had then distributed the tuna through vent holes in the casing and onto the motherboard, where it had cooked itself firmly on to most of the components and the inside of the case. Unbeleivable.

After ringing the customer to explain the situation, she angrily accused me of sabotaging her P.C. and demanded a new one. As I explained sarcastically to her "fish" damage was not covered in the warranty she put the phone down.

Just as I finished putting the P.C. in the back yard of the shop the phone rang again. The same woman, this time very sheepishly explained that she had interrogated her 5 year old son, who when eating his lunch had decided he did not want the tuna filling in his sandwhich, and as not to get in trouble with mum for not finishing it, he scooped the filling out and pushed it into the back of the P.C. on the table, to hide the offending food, then ate the bread. Needless to say I called all the other store technicians to relate my hilarious tale. I left the company shortly after and never found out what happened to the fishy P.C. As far as I know the system is still in the back yard of the store in an old box, with a drawing of a fish on it!

I beleive my tale deserves a plaice on your site Gettit!

Monitor problems
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Today's tech support phone conversation: Um. Er. [customer name]? That monitor you sent in for repair... Yes, I know the one we sent you to replace it is having problems, too. It's called "sleep mode". It goes blank after periods of inactivity. You need to press the enter key or move the mouse and wait a couple seconds to wake it up.

The REDO button doesn't work in MSWORD anymore...
Posted 06/01/2000 by Greg Thompson

M: IS this is Greg.

C: Hi this is XXXXXXXXXXX, my REDO button in Word doesn't highlite itself anymore when I select text and try to click it.

M: It doesn't Enable itself?

C: Right.

M: Was there something you had to use UNDO on, and now want to REDO it?

C: Well there was something I wanted Word to REDO and it won't.

M: Ok, so you did UNDO something and now it won't enable REDO?

C: Yeah.

M: (After openeing up Word and seeing if mine worked, and trying NOT to make it work...I couldn't and unmuted her to get more information) So walk me thru everything you're doing.

C: (Unhappy now, but you knew that was coming) ::SIGH:: Fine... I highlited some text, bolded it, changed the color, the font and underlined it too. Now I'm highliting some other text and I want Word to REDO what I just did to the first text to the newly highlited text. OK?

M: (Muted, Severe Laughter, Unmuted) Ma'am the REDO button is a REVERSE of the UNDO button, for example all the formatting you just did to the FIRST text can now be UNDONE by pressing the UNDO button. Conversly the REDO button will NOW be ENABLED, since you can now essentially UNDO, the UNDO by pressing REDO.

C: OOOOOOOO, I see. Well that's not the way it used to work.

M: (Muted, Severe Laughter w/tears, Unmuted) Would you like me to have Word reinstalled on your PC to see if that fixes it?

C: Yes, send someone up ASAP.

M: No problem ma'am, you have a nice day.(She was immediately printed out and put on our wall of shame.)

Hell hath no fury like a Tech scorned!
Posted 06/01/2000 by Swedish Chef

Greetings all!

I just have to post this as a warning to all other techs!

Do not dismiss callers as idiots right away! Sometimes they

are actual techs with real problems!

Case in point: I purchased a Creative Labs Annhilator video

card and installed it to my system. Loaded their driver files

and restarted. Everything seemed fine. Now having my new 3D

accelerator card, I wanted to test it. I tried playing Quake II.

System lock up after 10 minutes. So bad, the button to open the

CD-ROM would not work! Power off and restart. Checked website

for updates, lowered acceleration, standard checks - problem

persists. Try other games, including the Evolva Scout demo

that comes with the card (full version released about 4 weeks

later). Same result. Check their website help - nothing listed.

Finally call tech support.

1st tech - The problem is the games you are using - they use

the processor for the acceleration, not the card!

Me - but even your demo does the same, and it's new!

Tech - nope, it's an old game. They are all old games. Get a

new game and it will work fine.

Not wishing to waste more money on long distance, I hang up,

knowing that it was BS.

Call back the next day when I have more time and talk to a

second tech. Explain to him that previous tech was an A$$hole

and why and that he shouldn't treat fellow techs like that.

Second tech apologizes and we try some troubleshooting -

very nice guy. He suggests I update some other drivers and

I disconnect to do so.

Call back third time - previous updates didn't work. Get a new

tech again. Give him case #. He paused for a moment and says

to me "You're the guy". I said "Pardon?" He replied "I shouldn't

tell you this, but I know that they're not monitoring me now.

The first tech got royally reamed out by management after

the second technician showed his case notes to his superior.

Thanks, I really hate that guy!"

Goes to show you, as much as (l)users may annoy us, sometimes

you are speaking to someone knowledgeable!

Her confusion
Posted 06/01/2000 by iTech

I do tech support over the phone for a cable modem

isp. A lady called with an apple, running netscape

as her browser. When she would recieve an attachment

and tried to open it the result would be gibberish.

She asked point blank why don't you support

the file extension for these attachments. Being a

former AOL customer she did not understand my

repeated explinations of AOL, apple, netscape,

internet and attachments. We ended the call

with her confused and not understanding anymore than

she did before she called. I realized some folk

should stay with AOL no matter how slow, or how many

times they get kicked off.

And on the Eighth Day, God said, "Let there be Jerks"
Posted 06/01/2000 by Sean B.

One day, a few months ago, a customer (who had called many times before having problems with unbelievable things, and getting angry at us for them) called claiming to have problems with using our newsgroup server. This is how our wonderful ‘user’ directed the conversation:

Me: “Thank you for calling ----, this is Sean, how can I help you?

Caller: (irritated voice)“Hello, this is (name), and I’m having problems with you guys again.”

Me: “Okay, sir, what seems to be the problem.”

Caller: “Well, I canceled my service with you a few days ago (I had personally done the honor of deleting it) and now I can’t get into your newsgroup server.”

Me: “Sir, I’m sorry, but if you’re no longer a customer of ours, you can’t use our server.”

Caller: “Well, I could use it before!”

Me: “I realize that, but now that you’ve canceled your account with us, you won’t be able to use our server.”

Caller: “The newsgroup address is (address), right?”

At this point, I was wondering if it was I and maybe I hadn’t stated it clearly. Either way, I thought it should be pretty obvious that unless you have a free ISP, you can’t use the services if you aren’t a customer. "Doh, can I leech off of your service and be a jerk to you at the same time?" I suppose it wasn’t.

Me: “Yes, sir, it is. But you won’t be able to use it. You no longer have an account with us, which means you cannot access our server."

Caller: “Fine, just fine! Thanks a lot!” (Click)

At this point, looking back, I have to wonder, “Why?! Why do they have to be so stubborn?! Why can’t they understand?!”

I just can’t wait for more of these calls! Can’t you see that I’m so happy? Or worse than more of the same type of calls, he may call back and join our services again!

The next time this happens, I think I’ll be leaving work for the last time with my final paycheck in hand, for who knows what pain I will try to put the caller through………

Internet not working?!
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work on a university providing students with help on the internet, office, logon problems, stuff like that. One day, a girl came in, sit down at a computer, stayed there 5 minutes, then walked to another computer, stayed there, walked..... etc. After repeating this for about 5 times she finally came to me, saying:

she:"The internet broke down!"

me:"That can't be!"

she:"then your computers aren't working correctly!!!"

So I came to her computer, to see what was the problem.

Turned out a friend had written down an URL for her, and she kept typing "W-W-W-SPACE-.-SPACE-(domainname) etc.

So I told her that she was typing the internet adress wrong, and that there shouldn't be spaces in the adress. She however told me that THIS was wat she was supposed to write and nothing else. It MUST be the computer thats broken then! So I showed her how she had to type the adress, and it worked. She was astounded!!

Modem doesn't work on Friday nights
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

A few years ago, I worked for a company that installed automated control systems. While I lived and worked in Western Washington, several customers were in Eastern Washington. One of our customers operated a water-treatment plant out in the middle of nowhere. Part of the system included a modem which dialed the main office every evening around 11:00 PM and uploaded a report file. Everything worked fine for several weeks, until we started getting complaints that the system was "failing intermittently." I made several trips across the mountains trying to find the problem, until I noticed that the problem almost always happened on Friday nights. I talked the technician at the customer site through a few extra settings on the system that would dump an extra log file (with modem diagnostics) for a week. I dialed in and downloaded the file Monday morning. The log file showed quite clearly "no dialtone" when the modem attempted to dial out.

I reported this back to the customer, and he reported it to the phone company, assuming it was a problem with the phone equipment in the remote location. The phone company put a chart recorder on the line, and said there was nothing wrong. They showed the phone line working and in use at the same time the modem was reporting "no dial tone."

It turned out that a night-shift employee had heard the modem dial out one night and realized that there was a phone line in there somwhere. This enterprising young fellow had traced down the phone wire and brought in his own telephone, which he used to talk to his girlfriend to while away the lonely Friday nights. As far as I know, that cabinet is now locked.

Programs jumping off screen...
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

My story is about a big boss in a big company.

His assistant came to me and said:

- My boss's control panel is gone (this was in Windows 3.11 if someone can remember...)

I asked what he ment...

- He started it, and when he clicked on it it jumped up to the left corner, and when he clicked again it fell off the screen!

I asked if he was serious and he said he was...

So I went there and the boss gave me the same story.

After asking him the no.1 question:

- What did You do BEFORE this happened?

He answered:

- I went in the desktop settings and tried to change the grid size on the screen...

OK! There's something. When doing so, he set the biggest grid size and the program jumped to the nearest point which happened to be up to the right. Every program that we started "jumped" off the screen...

When we tried starting Control panel it started, but it was positioned "outside" the screen. I edited the control.ini and started control panel again and was now able to correct the problem. (also the GridGranularity setting in win.ini)

I told him he was a bad boy and he promized to do better next time. I went back to my office with a smile on my face.

30 minutes later the assistant came to me again:

- My boss has the same problem again...

You're kidding, I shouted!

He answered:

- No, all he did was showing me how it all happened...

This is why we'll always have plenty of work!

Pentium Processor?
Posted 06/01/2000 by Sierra

I do tech support for Apple Computer, primarily iMacs but if someone calls in on a particular queue with questions about iBooks and G3/G4 desktops I answer those questions as well. I also get a lot of calls from people who haven't bought computers yet but are considering one.

One day I got a call from someone interested in buying an iMac. She only had one question: "Does it come with a pentium processor?"

It was all I could do to keep from busting up laughing while still on the call.

Sometimes you just want to cry....
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Well here goes, I was working in a software Retail store doing sales and tech support. I had a fellow who was handy and wanted to install a sound card and CD-rom in his system. Okay no big deal 120 dollar sale. Later that night he calls and the sound card is fine but the CD wont work. I have him check cables and reboot,Unable to access drive message. He can see the drive in my computer but it will not see the disk. I run around in circles checking cable and drivers. THen figure lets try a music CD. So he goes and gets one and in the back ground I can here him drop the cd like 5 times. He gets on the phone and I ask him what was going on. He stated that the disks were hard to get in they kept falling out and onto the table. Hmmmm. On a hunch I had him remove the drive flip it over and re-secure it. Ding it worked fine.... Was wondering when the drives would start coming with this side up arrows.

A comma?
Posted 06/01/2000 by Agunzagun

This is a call I took, though I'll reenact it from a third person, so you know what my coworkers heard.


-"Okay, now put in a comma..."


-"...uh, its the thing that looks like a period with a squigly line under it"

That still doesn't beat out the time it took me 43 minutes to have somebody type in eleven characters.

I shit you not.

Printing the screen
Posted 06/01/2000 by M.Talon

I attended a wedding today, and amongst the spectators were quite a few of us techies (the groom and the bride were also techies, but I digress). At the reception, we started swapping tech tales. One of my friends told her experience with "the most amazingly stupid incident", and in all my years of tech supporting this one takes the prize

She was doing in-house support for a major company when she received a report of a "broken monitor". When she got to the area, what she found defied description. The monitor was laying completely shattered on the floor next to the copy machine. Naturally, the first thing my friend asked of the hapless user was "What happened?"

Earlier in the day, the user was told by someone to do some print screens (screen captures) to show what she was seeing on the screen. She moved her entire system into the copy room and placed the monitor face down onto the copier in order to capture the screen. Now, this was one of those big copiers where the cover doesn't open all the way, so she had to hold the monitor up there with one hand while she was doing whatever else with the other. Needless to say, the monitor slipped...BOOM!

Now I've heard all the classics...the "any" key, the coffee cup holder, and even the clanking the mouse on the screen to click on things. However, this one was great. User stupidity AND major property damage all mixed together. I couldn't top that.

This is $%#@!$! UNACCEPTABLE!!!
Posted 06/01/2000 by Tviokh

I got a call from a lady who first demanded to know why it

sometimes took her over 8 hours to download her email.

The call is as follows:

C: Hi, I'd like to know why your email servers are so slow?

Me: Well, there's currently nothing wrong with our systems, what seems to be the problem

C: Well after 8 hours my email still wasn't done downloading so I stopped it, and now it's not there anymore. It's unacceptable that it should take me 8 hours to download my email(NOTE: She has a 56k dialup account with us).

Me: 8 HOURS?! Did you send yourself a large file?

C: I sent myself a file from work, it was pretty big, but I don't know how big. I need that file!! It's UNACCEPTABLE that your service is so slow!!

Me: Okay, let me check the mail queue...okay ma'am, the mail queue is currently empty. Do you recall at all how large the file was?

C: Oh I don't know, I think around 250MB.

Me: ....250MB?! Ma'am, we have a policy that email attachments cannot be over 2MB in size unless we're notified ahead of time. Files that large slow down our systems, and we usually go in and delete them if we haven't had prior notification of something over 2MB coming through.

C: Oh....

Me: On top of that, you have a 56k dialup account. A 250MB file would take more than 8 hours to download at those speeds. It has nothing to do with OUR systems.

C: Oh, so you mean the file's not there? I NEED that file, what should I do?

Me: Well, you could go back to work tomorrow and have it put onto a CD for you, or you could notify us for clearance to send the file to yourself again.

C: Oh..okay...bye.

5 minutes later the same lady calls back, only now she's MAD.

C: Hi, I called 5 minutes ago about the 250MB file. It is TOTALLY *%&#!&! UNacceptable that you won't allow files that large to go across your system!! I NEED to send myself those files!! I DEMAND you flag my account so I don't have to call you, because that's a DAMNED inconvience for ME! In fact, let me talk to your supervisor!!

Glad to get rid of her, I transferred her. I heard about the rest of the call from the supervisor:

S: I'm sorry ma'am, but we can't allow 250MB-1GB files to be routinely sent across our systems to a dialup account. It takes up too much bandwidth and would slow our system down for all of our users.

C: Well that's UNACCEPTABLE!!!! Your systems should be able to handle things like that!! I NEED to send those files to my home computer! I DEMAND you flag my account so I can!

S: Well, I can transfer you to the manager's voicemail, but I doubt you'll be allowed to do this. My suggestion is you put in a request to your company for a CDRW drive so you can copy the files to a CD and just bring them home.

C: Look, I PAY for this internet account, I should be able to send ANY files I want, and file size shouldn't matter!! It's not MY fault if your equipment is bad!

The conversation went in circles like this for about 20 minutes. After that the customer simply said "FINE!!! I'll find a GOOD %&$#*!@ ISP then!!!" and slammed the phone down. She honestly thinks every other ISP in the area is going to let her transfer 1GB files through on a regular basis. Too bad we couldn't tell her she'd be searching for life.

Posted 06/01/2000 by Tviokh

A lady called saying another connection was using her modem and she couldn't dial up to the internet. I told her to shut down her computer, leave it off for 30 seconds, turn it on and try again. She said she did this but the

modem still was "in use". After going through this about 6 times, I found that she was NOT actually shutting her computer down, she was just sitting there and telling me she was because she didn't know how to shut down or reboot her computer. After giving her explicit step by step directions of what to do, I actually got her to shut it down and she was able to dialup and connect when it booted back up.

The same lady called back later that evening saying that IE kept performing illegal operations. She said she rebooted and it still did that. The she told me that it doesn't always do it, it just sometimes does it(IE is notorious for this). I tried to explain to her that that wasn't anything that our service did(she SWORE he computer had never crashed before), and that it was just something that happened sometimes.

I told her we could try to reinstall IE from the setup CD she got from us, she told me it "wouldn't let her". I asked her what she meant, and tried rephrasing several times, including "read me EXACTLY what's on the screen".

She would ALWAYS either say "There's nothing but icons" or "It just says I can't". After going through this for about 20 or so minutes, I was still getting nothing more specific than "It just says I can't" and "Look, I'm completely computer illiterate"(All I was asking her to do was read back to me EXACTLY what came up on the screen when she put the setup CD in the drive!), and I was getting desperate to get RID of her, so I told her that if I couldn't get a clearer picture of what was happening that I couldn't be of very much help. I suggested she get in contact with the people she bought her comptuer from, or that she find a friend who's knowledgable about computers to try to help her out.

We haven't heard back from her since.

No Title
Posted 06/01/2000 by Eric the Viking

I get a call saying my printers not working, I get there expecting to reinstall the printer drivers...

Sure enough the printer wasn't printing, because the computer wouldn't even start up, I had to reinstall the operating system, then the printer worked ;-}

Juicy Keyboard Story
Posted 06/01/2000 by Alex Howard

While doing second level support at a major international brokerage house (in NYC), I was assigned a call to assist a Senior VP who was reported a non-functional keyboard. She needed immediate asistance.

Even stopping to get a new keyboard, it took less than one minute to get to her office, but she was already gone! You'll see why.

Having learned a couple of lessons in the past, I started by looking to see if the keyboard was actually plugged into the computer; it was.

I followed the keyboard cable back around to the front of her computer - all looked fine. The CAPS Lock and NUM Lock lights were both on.

So I then tried a couple of keys. Sure enough, she was right; the keyboard didn't work! Her desk had one of those keyboard trays that slides under the desktop, and which has clamps to keep the keyboard in place. I started loosening the keyboard, picked up the right side, and about a pint of water flooded my pants leg and the floor!

Mystery solved.

Cats and Computers
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

My husband and I do many computer upgrades ourselves, so we're our own technical support.

I had my tower lying on its side on the floor next to my computer cart, since I had just replaced a 2.5 GB drive with a 20.5 GB drive, and I was a little too lazy to remove the motherboard to put the screw on the other side, (of course there is a hole in the metal frame that holds the mother board, so one could go in there, but I forgot that it was there, and didn't check. Plus, I only remembered that to get a second screw on that side you do have to take the mother board off.) I was frustrated about other things too, another story.

Any ways, one of my cats, was sitting on the space that is between the keyboard (sitting at an angle, since the keyboard tray is only wide enough for the keyboard) and the mouse. (Sometimes both cats sit there - amazing!) He got spooked out and jumped straight up in the air and landed on my motherboard, hard enough to force the memory to jump out.

Needless to say, computer crashed and wouldn't restart.

My husband reseated all cards and for some reason (which escapes me a month later) removed the power connection, saying something about red center. Later he replaced power connection with red in the center. Then we started up. Still nothing.

In trying to get an older computer up so that I'd have something, I discoverd the the video adapter didn't plug in easily, which caused the same symptoms as the fact that the computer wouldn't restart. (Green lite on NEC MultiSync XV17 would go on, and then turn to yellow!)

Bought a new motherboard and tried it out with my old processor. Still nothing, so we took the chip out of my husbands computer and everything worked! Great, don't have to buy memory!

Just to be sure, although we were pretty sure, we tried husbands chip in old motherboard.

But I still wonder, that if I had pushed down on the video card, would we still have old processor and old motherboard?

It was nice to get a faster processor!

Posted 06/01/2000 by Dan

Hi, I'm an MCT teaching in a tech college. One day, with my new class of students, we were learning Windows NT Administration and NTFS permissions. Since we had just started covering this topic in the book and its security features, I had instructed the students to pay careful attention to what I was lecturing. One of my students decided to move on ahead unfamiliar with what lay before him. To beef up his security on his computer, he decided to give the Everyone group NO ACCESS on his hard drive!...The next time he rebooted his computer, he couldn't gain access to his desktop because little did he know at the time that he was part of the Everyone group. I couldn't help but let out a chuckle as I called the other students over to show them what not to do! He had to format his drive and reinstall Windows NT.

Tales from the deaf, Part 1
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Oh the good old days, when I was a tech supporter for a national ISP...Not! I don't miss it one bit and here are some more reasons why.

I was given a callback, to an elderly customer who mistakenly called our main office number instead of our tech support number. He had problems connecting to the Internet using his Mac. In the call log it stated in capital letters: "CUSTOMER IS VERY HARD OF HEARING!!" Just great! A customer has problems connecting with a Mac AND is hard of hearing. Not a good mix. Unfortunately I had to call him back. You probably guessed how the conversation went.

Me: Hi Mr. Jones (not his real name of course), my name is Fern from Internet Company. I heard you have problems connecting to the Internet?

Customer: Who?


(At that moment, other techs including my supervisor started to listen).

Cu: Oh yeah! Thanks for calling back..(and he tells me his problem).

After making sure he was in front of his computer, and was already on, I continued..

Me: OK sir. To correct this problem, you'd have to go to MacTCP, under the Apple menu and Control Panels.

Cu: Pardon?

Me: (Whoops, I should have known) MACTCP!!! GO TO THE APPLE MENU FIRST ...PLEASE!

Cu (hesitating): I don't understand.


Finally after we arrive in MACTCP (after another 10 minutes and the other techs ROFL), the settings were all screwed.

Arrived at the part where we had to insert info in the Domain Name and IP address field, I wanted him to type for example, DNS.ISP.COM in the domain name field.

Me (still screaming): OK NOW IN THE DOMAIN NAME FIELD TYPE "D"!!!

Cu: B?

Me: NO "D" AS IN "DOG"!!!!

Cu: C?

(Meanwhile in the background, my supervisor says: 'Why not "D" as in "DEAF"')


Cu: OK!



Cu: "M"

(Good grief!!!)

Me (getting exasperated): NO "N" AS IN NERD!!!

Finally after almost an hour with this poor man, we corrected the settings in MacTCP. In fear of losing my voice, I didn't dare to check his settings in ConfigPPP dialer (let's have another tech deal with him if he calls back), so I yelled to him to try connecting. After hanging up on him, I took a 10 min. break while everybody in the office was ROFL. He did call back and another tech got him.

He too struggled with him for a while while configuring his ConfigPPP dialer. He didn't call back after that.

Tales from the deaf. Part 2
Posted 06/01/2000 by Fern

A few months later, I had to deal with another user who had problems of comprehension. This is a true story.

Me: Thank you for calling (ISP Name), my name is Fern, how may I help you?

Customer: Hi, I'm having problems connecting, do you have any problems?

Me: From which city are you calling from, sir?

(We have several POP numbers across the US).

Him: Pardon?

Me: From WHICH CITY are you calling from?

Him: I don't understand..


Him: (silent)

Me: OK, sir what is your username?

Him: Sorry. I don't understand. You'd have to speak up.

Me (yelling): WHAT IS YOUR U-S-E-R-N-A-M-E SIR??

Him: Huh?


Him: (sigh) *Click*

Me: ?!?!?!?!

I don't know if he did this on purpose or not, but I took a 10 min break after that call too :-)

Downy Soft Mouse
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I do tech support for a local ISP. We often get calls that aren't internet related problems, and usually I refer them to the proper support group, but this one was too good to pass up.

A lady calls me and asks if her mouse will work if it gets wet. I told her it probably would as long as it didn't get too wet. Then she explained the story. Apparently, she had to leave the house for a bit, and didn't want her children to use the computer. So she unplugged the mouse from the computer, and hid it in her shoe. Well, she came home, and having forgotten about the mouse, proceeded to wash her shoes in the washing machine. Then she asked me if that would hurt the mouse, and if she could plug it in while it was still wet. Just for fun I told her to throw it in the dryer under low heat for 35 minutes to avoid shrinking, and give it a try.

The Hardest Login
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

User: I can't login to the network this morning.

Me: Okay. Let's see what's wrong. Are you at the login screen now?

User: Yes.

Me: Okay. What does it say in the "USERNAME" field?

User: Hold on. I have to turn the PC on...


Plain as day - except for the user!
Posted 06/01/2000 by Mike Reilly

I work in 2nd level tech support for a large company and have been in this position for over 3 years. I'm changing jobs at the end of the summer once my company completes a merger, which is something I'm looking forward to as I could use a change of environment. I've heard all sorts of "tech tales" over the years and experienced quite a few of my own, but today's "adventure" topped anything I've seen before.

The long and the short of the problem is that a Novell server froze up as I was trying to troubleshoot it, and I had to call the user to ask her to manually reboot it (we can usually do it remotely, but not when the server has hung). I told her what the server looked like and where the power switch was. All she needed to do was turn the power switch off and then on again. She was in the same room as the server so it wasn't as if she had to hunt for it.

You guessed it; she couldn't find the power switch. Patiently I explained that the server was on the bottom level of the standard rack (it's the same for all locations) and it is called a "Compaq Prosignia 300." She confirmed she could see the server right in front of her. I told her the power switch was on the front panel of the server, plain as day, and all she had to do was press down to shut off the server. She told me there wasn't any power switch on the front of the server. Still patient (though struggling to maintain that!) I reiterated where the power switch was, asking her "You are looking at the Compaq Prosignia, right?" "Oh, yes, the Prosignia 300, that's right." She said. "What do you see on the front panel?" I asked. She replied with the name of the computer, the label, the "property of..." sticker, but continued to assert there wasn't any power switch to turn off. I even told her what the switch looked like! "It's not like a light switch," I said. "It's a flat power switch about an inch long by a half inch wide." No luck. I know the server had a standard power switch, same as all of the hundreds of Compaq Prosignia servers we support. I asked her if she knew what a power switch was, and what it looked like, and she said she did. But believe it or not, I finally had to tell her "I'm going to have to send a technician out to reboot your server" because she just couldn't find the power switch and nobody else was there at her location to assist. I was at my wit's end by the time I got off the phone with her; I tried everything except telling her to unplug the power cord from the back of the computer, worrying something would go wrong if I tried that option.

I've really tried to show some compassion and understanding for people who don't know much about computers and who need a little help from me; that's why they're our users, naturally. I try not to criticize people for not knowing stuff that seems so elementary to those of us in the computer industry, because they work in a different field. But when someone is just so stupid they can't see a simple power switch two feet away from them, such that my company has to pay a technician to go out there and do it for them, then it's really quite ridiculous. It's not even a matter of computer literacy or technical know-how with a user like this, but basic visual and observational skills.

Coffee, anyone?
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

This story, I thought, belonged in the department of tell-tales, but no, I lived it...

I work for a major ISP in Europe, and we provide customers with dedicated ADSL, complete with a modem and router.m One customer in particular had a problem with his connection; our security software reported it down a couple of times per day, all lasting around 15-20 minutes. The really strange part was that the customer in question never called us to report it, but it was we who called him frequently and neither he nor we could figure it out. So, one day, when the connection dropped, I called this guy and simultaneosly directed one of our mobile units to go to his location. When they arrived, the connection was once again live. Humm? The mobile techie then proceeded to setup his laptop, and asked for a power outlet he could use. One of the customers employees then proceeded to pull out a cord, saying that 'you can use the one we use for the coffeemachine'... The line went dead. Apparantly, they pulled the cord to the router each and every time they browed a fresh pot! We charged them for the time, and laughed all the way to the bank :-)

Call the cows home
Posted 06/01/2000 by Jordan S.

Dumb users? Dumb tech...

When I first got my current computer 2 years ago, I ordered a small hard drive because I already had a larger one that I'd used as my old secondary drive that I was going to add to the system after receiving it. I received my computer (from the cow guys), and set it up...worked wonderfully. I'd added many a component before, but wasn't FULLY thinking right when I decided to install my new drive. I popped the secondary drive onto the slave of the primary IDE channel, and I started up...Well, the BIOS wouldn't recognize EITHER drive at this point. I was a little baffled, so I checked that the cables were seated properly, and that the red stripe was on pin 1, etc. Finally, I decide to call tech support. Here's a rough transcript of the call.

Me: I just got my computer and I'm putting a second HD in it, but now neither drive is recognized by the BIOS, and it won't boot. Any ideas?

Him: Uhhh...what kind of drive is it?

Me: It's a 6.5 GB Seagate Medalist Pro.

Him: But your boot drive is a Western Digital, right?

Me: Yeah, so?

Him: You can't use two hard drives from different manufacturers on the same controller. You'll have to buy another IDE controller.

Me: I think you're mistaken.

Him: Sorry, our motherboards don't work with two separate drive manufacturers.

Me: Uhh...ok, whatever. (click)

5 minutes later, I realized what I'd done...In my old computer, the second drive was the master on the secondary channel. One jumper switch to move the second drive to slave, and viola. Two nice, functioning hard drives.

What a moron.

Computer Specialist
Posted 06/01/2000 by Dean Duvall

I was working with one of the Receiving employees back in our shop area, setting up his Terminal system, with a printer attached to it.

Got everything hooked up, and I was in the process of using canned air to blow the dust / debris out of his old printer. Got some scrap paper to run through the printer, to make sure that it would feed okay. It seem to run fine.

I went to put brand-new paper into his machine (it was a wide-carriage printer, and we use green-bar up in the main office). He looks at me and says - "If we put this green-bar paper in my printer, won't it mess the printer up?".

I assured him that both the green-bar, and white paper will run just fine through his machine. I ended up putting in the paper, so it would print on the white side. But I had to hurry back up front - I ended up laughing about it the rest of the afternoon! :-)

Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

A call came into the help desk for a monitor that went dead. I went to the users desk and sure enough, the monitor was dead. I replaced the monitor with a loaner and started walking away with her bad one when she stopped me and asked me where I was going with her old one. I told her it was bad and we would probably just throw it away. She replied in a very stern voice, you can't take that away, it has all my stuff in it. I had to explain that the box under her desk had all her data not the monitor.

Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I love this one . . ..

User approaches me, "Is the network slow? Are you guys having problems?"

Me, "I don't think so, this is the first I've heard of it if it is."

User, "Well, I was just trying to retrieve a spreadsheet and my computer hung. The network is too slow."

Me, "OK, lets have a look . . . Oh my! Look at this! Somebody maliciously installed a resouce hogging, memory intensive program that runs in the background."

User, "Yeah, I noticed a new icon on my toolbar . . . ."

Of course the user would not confess to downloading a program off the internet he knew very little about, but I got a kick out of the way he asked for help - "Is the network slow?"

phone number
Posted 06/01/2000 by mark

ok, so here's my contribution to tech tales. I work for a very large isp (name withheld to protect the guilty)#2 in the world. This one happened a few minutes ago. customer calls in saying he is getting a username/password error, this is his 4th call about the same problem. I check out the notes from the previous calls and notice they have done just about everything already. I'm looking through these notes and the only thing I can come up with is renaming his pwl files. After I take care of that I ask him what area code he's in and the city that's closest to him, hoping to find another POP close to him. I'm looking at POPs and notice the ones around him are pretty congested, just about to tell customer this when he pipe's in, "oh by the way, i'm using the 800 access number". well thats just great for me, I check his account and sure enough he's not setup for 800 access. transfer to customer service and end call, all the while laughing at my fellow support tech's who spent a fair amount of time with this guy without checking to see what number he's using and then proceed to yank out half his files and network settings. always check the easy crap first.

Why can't I connect?
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I just had a user call me and she could not connect to the internet... so I started with the normal trouble shooting and nothing seemed to be working. The error she was getting was telling me that her user name or password were wrong. I looked it up in the database and it was correct compaired to what she told me. I then feared for the worst and asked her if her Caps Lock was on. There was a silence on the line. She replyed back "What is that?". I had to explain to her what the Caps Lock key was and where to find it on her keyboard and how to turn it on and off. Needless to say after that I was in great need of a smoke break.

The Long wait,
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for a rather large isp, here was the call:

in the middle of a busy que, i answer the phone like i always do, and hear breathing, so i say i am only allowed to wait too minuites then i will have to hang up , about a miniute later i her snoring, the guy had waited so lone he had fallen alseep! It was the funniest 2 minuite call in a while :)

Power Mouse
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

A friend to me purchased an old used computer from a magazine. Then he called me to help him put it all together.

When i arrived there was cabels and stuff everywhere.

When everything was connected to the computer i found out that the power cable was missing.

"What??", he shouted.

"Oh, those damn ¤%¤&£€!!!"

I was looking around to see if i could find it somewhere.

At this time my friend was werry upset and was screaming something about killing the previous owner of the computer.

"Cant you use this????", he screamed.

When i turned around i saw that he was houlding the mouse.

(He gave the computer back, and then he purchased a new one instead. Some weeks later he called me and wanted help again. There was no sound, the cd drive didn't work, etc. When i arrived i found that every file in the computer he thought was uneccesay, he put in a file called "c:\dontknowwhat\" )

Going Through Loops
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

The user's data wire was too long for her and getting in her way, so she wanted us to make it shorter.

I suggested that making loops in it and moving it off to the side would be better.

Oh Mighty DragonSlayer?
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I've worked in computers for ten years. The last six have been in a Tech Support capacity, but my funny user story actually comes from living with my old room-mate.

It seems her boyfriend (who I shall now refer to as Lump) had a laptop that he'd been given by his daddy. Lump thought he knew everything there was to know about PC's. I often ignored him.

One day my roomie asked me if I could take a look a Lump's PC. It seems that he couldn't get the system password on his IBM Thinkpad to work. Now this is a serious problem since there is usually no way around this except to get another motherboard, but I told him I'd give it a look. Sure enough, the password he gave me "Dragonslayer" wouldn't work. I told him he would have to contact IBM and see what they could do. He did and they (of course) told him that he would have to buy a new motherboard. He spent quite awhile telling me and my roomie how he "refused to spend any money" on the PC and that it was "IBM's #$&@#$% fault" and "they'd better replace it for free".

Now stick with me here... this gets better!

I decided to give it one more try (to get him out of my hair) and I quizzed my roomie on what her boyfriend might have used as a password other then "Dragonslayer". She insisted that that was the *only* password he ever used. She said, "He types "Dragon" then it gives him X's and then he types "Slayer" and it lets him in.

DING! A bell went off. I quickly booted the laptop and when it came to ENTER PASSWORD I typed SLAYER. Sure enough, the PC started up just fine. The egotistical idiot had forgotten that he was typing in DRAGON, getting an ERROR MESSAGE (which he actually thought was part of the whole "password process") and then typing SLAYER which was his actual password! He had forgotten that sequence and was just typing in the entire word DRAGONSLAYER and of course it wouldn't work.

Needless to say the jerk didn't even thank me for saving him $$$. But I had a wonderful laugh at his expense when I got to work and told all my tech support co-workers about it. In fact, just posting it here gives me enormous satisfaction.

Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

My first day of being on the phones with a local ISP in the deep south.

Me: Tech Support, this is Me, can I get your email address please?

C: Its Bob Jones.

Before I could say anything else, he launches into a string of expletives:

C: Why are you guys down? I can't ever %(*^& get online with you people and I am about ready to cancel my $%$#@ service and find someone else!!!

M: Well sir, what kind of problem are you having?

C: I cant %#%$# get online!!!

M: Okay, what happens when you try to connect?

C: Nothing %$#%$ happens! (Like I am an idiot)

M: Well, can you walk me through the steps you take to connect?

C: (Tone becoming VERY condescending) I double click on my (provider here) icon, it comes up and dials, I hear it screeching and all that, and then nothing happens.

M: (Getting annoyed) Do you get an error message sir?

C: No I $#%$# don't! What is wrong with this %$#%$# company?? I am so sick of this $#@!! I am going to cancel you people and go somewhere else!!

At this point I want to tell him to go right ahead, but since I am new, I dont know what I can get away with yet.

M: Okay sir, go ahead and try to connect and lets see what happens.

C: Fine. But I am telling you, its not going to $%$@# work!!!!

(By this time I start running checks on his account, checking his recent logons and failed passwords...Lo and behold, he is failing his password)

C: Okay its dialing...wait whats this?

M: What's what?

C: Okay it says that it wants my password.

M: Okay type that in.

C: (Typing furiously) Okay its in...wait, its asking for it again!!!

M: (Rolling eyes) Sir, you must be typing your password in incorrectly. What is your password?


M: (trying not to snicker) Sir, you do have a password. And any other internet provider is going to require you to have a password as well.

C: That's BULL$#@$!!! I dont even know how to use this thing!!!! My secretary set this #$@ thing up for me so I could check my stocks!!!

M: Okay sir, you are going to have to call customer service to get your password so that you can get into your account.

C: Oh, this is REDICULOUS!!! I can't believe you #$@$#@ people!! What is the customer service number???? I am going to call and tell them how NICE (very sarcastically) you were to me!!!

M: Okay sir the number is 1-800-xxx-xxxx.


Apparently his secretary had saved the password when the account was originally set up and someone had unchecked the "save password" box in the dialer...

This guy was some big-wig at some company who thought that everyone had to wipe his a$$ for him. He didnt like the fact that I wouldn't allow him to be as rude to me. Well I still have his email address, and as soon as I quit this company I am going to send him a VERY interesting email. I hope his poor secretary gets a kick out of it.

A Few More From the Deep South
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

These are just some general problems that occur so regularly it is frightening.


M: Tech support, this is Me, can I get your email address please?

C: Its 1234 Fairway Lane...

M: Not your MAILING address, your EMAIL address!!!


M: Okay I need you to right click on My Computer and choose properties...

C: With the right or left button?



M: Okay I need you to shut down your computer..

C: You mean turn it off?


M: Okay double click on My Computer

C: Nothing happens.

(This is the point where you know its gonna be an hour long call)


M: Tech Support, this is Me, can I get your email address please?

C: I think I broke something. (Variations on this include, "I think I done messed sumthin up" and "My screen is black.")


M: Tech support, this is Me, can I get your email address please?

C: I dont have one.


M: Okay, I need you to open "My Computer".

C: What kinds of tools do I need to do that?

Man I could tell you all so many more...but it would take the rest of the world!!

More Tales From The Deep South
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I spoke to a lady one Sunday afternoon who was having disconnection problems. In the state of Georgia, the telephone company is too lazy to go out and fix people's phone lines so we get a LOT of disconnection problems. The phone lines here absolutely suck.

I knew it was a disconnection problem the second I picked up the phone because of the horrible static on the line. So after I got the information to pull up her account, and heard the problem, I proceeded to explain to her about phone lines and modems...etc. She proceeds to tell me that she has 2 lines, and when she is on one phone, if her husband picks up the other line in the other room, he can hear her talking. This is commonly refered to as cross talk. Problem solved, Call your phone company. Well she didnt believe me, so I took her into hyperterminal and SHOWED her the line noise. All of this took 2 hours (eating thru my lunch break)...because she argued with me every step of the way. Finally I got her off my phone with her promise to call her phone company before she called us back.

Fast forward to Tuesday of the same week. She calls back. I spend ANOTHER 2 hours with her on the phone (again eating thru my lunch), bawling and telling me that she can't get online at all now (she thinks it's due to a string we put in her modem to slow her down) and the phone company called and checked out her lines and they were just fine. Needless to say, in this area, the phone company is only required by law to connect people at 9600bps, and then they don't care. Well this lady became more and more abusive, through me explaining numerous times that she needed to have the phone company out to her house to fix that crosstalk problem. She is bawling and telling me that she HAS To get online because it is her whole life, and proceeds to tell me about how sad her life is. Well, I am sorry, but just because you HAVE NO LIFE dosent mean that we can hit a magic "fix it" button and it will work for you lady!!!

Finally she decided that I was stupid and wanted to talk to my supervisor. My supervisor spent ANOTHER hour on the phone with her (missing his lunch break), explaining the same thing to her. Finally she got another call, and in the process of retreving it, got disconnected from my supervisor. He went to lunch as I was coming back from mine...AND SHE CALLED AGAIN. Finally I just had to say, Ma'am, I am really sorry, but we cannot help you until you call your phone company. Please do not call us back until you have done that.

She called back 3 days later, asked to talk to the supervisor she had bothered-I mean talked with before, and asked him to please accept her apology and apologize to everyone she had called and abused. Apparently she had called the phone company and had them out to the house, they fixed her crosstalk problem (miracles DO happen) and she was connecting just beautifully now. It takes all kinds.

Magic Mouse
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

When I was working as a Tech support rep we would use Carbon Copy to try and troubleshoot problems from the office without making a field visit.

One day as I am connecting a user's pc I say as usual:

"Ok, I am connecting to your PC now. You will start to see your mouse move"

To which I got the reply...

"How are you going to move my mouse from there?!?"

I meant the mouse pointer and she thought I meant the actual physical mouse. Guess I should have been more specific.

There were two classic calls that came in before I was working at this job. The first was that the user's screen was half grey now. She had pulled the Start bar up.

Another call that came in had the following problem title:

"Cannot access files on A: after format"


The amaizing modem
Posted 06/01/2000 by Rebecca

I work for a small company in Canada that does support for 70 companies around the US and most days are filled with callers that we don't understand how they go on living a normal life,but this one takes the cake.

This is an unusual tale of a lady with a modem that did the impossible, but I will start on my second call with this lady on.

She had called before about a disconencted from the computer you dialed error which I had done everything possible but get her to recheck the way the phone line went to the computer ( to my dismay it came through a surge protector) when I asked her to change this to wall to computer directly we got disconnected (although she has 2 phone lines?).

Later on she called back with the same proble. Wanting to make sure that the modem was trying to dialup I suggested hse connect a phone to the computer and hold it up to her ear to see if she gets the familiar click of a modem acessing the line. She got that and a whole lot more the modem connected with her holding the phone to her ear. To make sure I was not losing my mind I got her to hang up the phone ( connection to internet promptly disconnected) and try this again. Got the same error ( disconnected from computer you dialed), so I asked her to put the handset of the phone on the desk beside the phone. Modem connected but she had not data flow. Asked her to recheck the was the lines were connected to the right ports. To my dismay they were correct. Suggested she contact her dealer to get this fixed. She asked what to tell the dealer, told her to tell him that it connects when the phone is up.

Some people

Technical Agent
Posted 06/01/2000 by Mike Kubit

I once was employed for Hewlett-Packard's Pavilion computer systems. The systems came packaged with a recovery CD designed as a total system backup for the pre-installed software, often referred to as a "Format/Reload" and used only as an aboslute last resort, not even second level support would use it until they had exhausted every possible other way. It was also used to pull individual files off when needed. I was walking a customer through the recovery CD's utility, and asked her to type in a file name and hit search. She read off the error message as it read straight off the CD:

"No binary data aggregations engendered a sufficient level of nominal synchronicity with the specification that you provided."

Stumped beyond belief, I put the customer on hold and called up the most senior technician available, and relayed the message to him. He blinked, and said without missing a beat, "Cool, format/reload." So, I walked the customer through a format/reload.

A month later, another technician approached me, informing me that the recovery Cd had been updated, and that he had gotten the same error message, slightly modified. Now, it read:

"No binary data aggregations engendered a sufficient level of nominal synchronicity with the specification that you provided


File not found."

MSN Refugee
Posted 06/01/2000 by Aaron in Pennsylvania

We got an interesting customer about a month ago. First she wanted tech support even before she was a customer! She got a computer with the MSN rebate, and moved to our area (where there are no MSN numbers). The part of me that felt sorry for her quickly died as she started to call in.

Next let me say it was a sign of things to come when she tried to bum smokes off EVERYONE in the office when she came to sign up!

We get our startup software from a company in Georgia that makes it easy for customers - they put in the username and password and it sets up EVERYTHING for them. Apparently MSN will dial automatically. Ours won't. Here was an interesting exchange:

Her: It doesn't dial automatically.

Me: Ma'am, that's how our software is. It won't.

Her: Make it.

Me: Ma'am, another company makes our software, it's out of our control.

Her: Well make them make it.

She just didn't get it....She also was very ticked off that we had her password and was afraid "disgruntled employees" would use her account.

She was a pain in the butt, used foul language and the end for her came when she couldn't get any help here at work so she actually CALLED THE SENIOR TECH **AT HOME** at 9:10 at night to complain and demand that she help him "It must be nice to not help anyone after 5..."

Her account was terminated the next day.

Paranoid User
Posted 06/01/2000 by Aaron in Pennsylvania

We have a user that has been with us for a few months now, and every task is security-related because she always thinks someone is hacking into her account.

The latest:

Her: I never noticed this before..Before it comes up "verifying user name and password", it says "Connecting to remote computer.." does that mean someone's spying on me?

Me: No, it does not. That's just your machine connecting to us.

Her: Are you sure?

Me: Yes.

Her: Are you POSITIVE?

Me: Yes.

I sometimes wonder if she'd be best WITHOUT the internet..

Little things that bug a tech
Posted 06/01/2000 by Aaron in Pennsylvania

What email program do you use?


"Outback Express"

"European Light"



(company's name)


(their e-mail address)

"Verifying user's name and password" (as compared to user name and password)

"No Dialtone can't be my modem, my phone works!"

"I don't have an error message, can't you see my screen to find that out?"

Insert CD Here
Posted 06/01/2000 by Joanne

ok. check this: someone calls saying that they just bought a new computer and they have it completely set up and everything. only they were testing speakers and no sound came out. my initial reaction was 'are the speakers on?' but yeah, they were. i tell them to pop in a cd and play it. nothing. so i ask them, 'what does the front of your computer look like?' and they say 'there's a floppy drive and two other ones.' and i go 'what are the two?' and it turns out that the guy put the cd into the cd rewrite drive and was assured by his brother that no, that OTHER drive couldnt possibly be used for playing cds.


Til the Cows Come Home
Posted 06/01/2000 by AlexH

This happened to a non-tech friend. As part of a project he was running - he was a contractor for a large construction firm in NYC - he had to receive and have set up, 300 new Pentium 166 computers. Because it was a public funds-based project, they had to order from two different companies, IBM and the one with Cow Spots on their boxes.

The first shipment of 150 IBM computers arrived, and one of them was DOA, out of the box. Not bad.

Then the Cow Spots computers arrived. Of the first shipment of 150 computers, all 150 were DOA! Naturally, he shipped them back to Cow Country. They shipped him another 150 computers.

Of that second shipment of Cow Spots, 40 were DOA! Eventually, he got 150 working computers from the Cow Spots folks.

To this day, whenever anyone asks me about those Cow Spots computers, I simply re-tell this story, and then advise them to make their own decision.


Cordless Computers
Posted 06/01/2000 by I don't even get paid!

At my school, I am in a "Student Techie" program, which means I mainly help set up computers and act like a tech support. One day, one of my teachers calls me and asks if I could help her connect to the internet. I go thrrough everything on her system, then I get an idea. I look at the back of the computer, and sure enough, she hadn't plugged a phone line in. I told her about it and she said "Oh. I thought they had done the same thing with computers as cordless phones." ARGHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Now that's just sloppy workmanship
Posted 06/01/2000 by Travis

Got a call from a customer the other day who just got their brand new system home and unboxed it. It wouldn't power on. Suspecting the normal bonehead mistakes that new users have I checked the cabling, the way he had it set up, etc. All looked fine until he mentioned that when he set it up there was a rattling sound on the inside of the case. I had him grab a phillips screwdriver and pull off the cover. That's when the motherboard and all its associated cabling promptly fell out! Whovere the rocket scientist was that assembled this particular computer was skipped a few steps in the quality assurance guidelines! Off went the customer back to the store to exchange his brand new $1400 chuck of scrap metal for something a little more functional.

-More ramblings follow-

We once had a guy call in because he turned his ISA card into a PCI card with a hacksaw. Seems that his system would no longer boot. Wonder why???

My favorite calls are when you step a customer through setting up and logging onto their $2000 machine for the first time. Everything works, all is well and they are ready to rock. Then the inevitable question arises. "How do I use this thing?" ***AAAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!*** You don't but a car THEN learn how to drive it!

Remember folks, it's "Right click on My Computer." Not "Write 'click' on MY computer." If I have to explain the difference one more time you will surely find me naked in a bell tower with a high powered rifle and a six pack of beer.

Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I'm not a computer expert, but I do know that the cd drive is not a cup holder. My friend (who will remain nameless)know alot about vidio cards etc. But when it comes to softwear, forget it!!! He askes me almost every day how do I do this, how do I do that, and most of the time it is stuff that's a little complex, but today he just blew me away.

F: Hey, I need help again.

ME: What do you need this time?

F: Well, I want to add someone to my buddy list. (This isn't AIM)

ME: You sure you need my help.

F: YES! Are you going to help me or not.


(I look around for a little while.)

ME: Click on the left most tab.

F: Ok.

ME: Press ALT+M

F: Ok, now what.

(On the menu screen it say right there in ENGLISH "ADD A BUDDY")

ME: I think you can figure that out.

F: Just tell me!

ME: Click on ADD A BUDDY

F: Oh.

I don't know if he's blind or just plain stupid!

BIOS is Bad
Posted 06/01/2000 by Just another poor techie

I work for a small tech support vendor, whose clients are mostly college professors / students. A certain student had purchased a tutorial on CD for his class but did not have the hardware required. He had called in several times and each time he called in he would have a different suggestion for me to suggest to him as a fix. Each time, however, I would tell him the same thing. "You don't have a sound-blaster compatible sound card, which is a requirement of the CD".

On about the ninth call, I answered the phone and he excitedly said my name and then "I got it! I know what the problem is!"

M: "Your soundcard isn't sound blaster compatible?"

H: "No. It's this BIOS thing. It must be bad. I'm just going to delete it."

the missing CD?
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

A friend recently called my wife at home to ask if she could help retrieve a CD that had been inserted into her PC computer. My wife, being a Macintosh person, immediately called me and asked if I could call the friend.

She stated that she had inserted a CD into the drive, but it didn't seem to work or do anything at all. I asked her to eject the disk and try reinserting. She said that when she pushed on the lever on the drive, nothing happened. (This should have been my first clue!)

OK, I thought, let's go to 'My Computer', select the CD drive and eject that way. I led her through the steps, but when I told her to right click on the 'D' drive, she said there was no 'D' drive, only 'A' and 'B'.

It took a minute for me to register the meaning - she had inserted the CD into the 5.25" floppy drive! Obviously, (by now) this was an older computer! But she had never seen a 5" floppy disk! She had some 3.5" disks laying around, so she knew what they were.

I assume that she was able to eventually get the CD out of the floppy drive, since she never called back on my offer to help retrieve it if she couldn't.

Our tech department got a chuckle out of that one for a day or two!

Call Center Hell - With smoke and fire and everything
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Some people in the technical industry abuse their employees without mercy. I know that comes as no surprise, but here's a tale from years ago, when Florida was having all those wildfires. I was a remote technical admin for voice and data lines at the time.

We had a customer who had several call centers across the US, and one of their biggest technical product queues was housed in Jacksonville. They had several hundred people who working in a building, answering technical calls for their various products. Well, I got a call from my admin about the advancing fires, and how some places in Jacksonville were being evacuated, and to be prepared to shut the call center down. One other customer had already called and shut his center down, and rerouted all his calls to an outsourcer. So I waited and waited for the call from this big company to state the same.

Time went by. My admin kept coming by, asking, "Did they shut it down yet?" We had CNN on in the background, and we were watching any news on the fires (there are a lot of call centers and telco hubs in Jacksonville). I checked some of the lines, and they were still showing activity like people were there. Finally, we decided to call them.

I got their head network admin who confirmed they were still open, but at reduced capacity because people weren't showing up for work. Was it because of the fires? Not exactly. The admin told us that he was not allowed to close the center unless the fire Marshall forced them to, as directed by his personnel manager. Employees were on "optional unpaid leave," which had just been recently changed from, "No leave available." They made the leave optional ONLY because the fire was so close to them, several roads were blocked and their parking lot was full of fire trucks who were using their lot as part of a natural fire break.

"The smoke is really thick out there," he continued, like he was weathering a storm rather than 200 feet away from a flaming death, "it's in the ventilation, and you can't see across the floor anymore."

Let me get this straight, smoke was IN THE BUILDING already? It appeared so, but they wanted to man it until the very last minute because then they'd have to reroute calls to another center that had half the capacity, and might have to pay people overtime there. The admin said the head of personnel had already been chewed out because of the "low employee turnout." Hence, the unpaid leave. I informed the guy about smoke hazards, and he said he was helpless, it was policy. My admin told me to tell him that smoke will damage all their systems, and to try that angle.

An hour later, we got a call back. "We'll take the risk."

I wish I could say that all their computer stuff fried, but it didn't. They never closed, and so employees were forced to risk their life to come to work or lose pay. Hell, I'd quit!

the biggest laugh I ever had
Posted 06/01/2000 by anonymous

3rd level tech support had installed a database on the C: drive, which is a big NO-NO. Being 2nd level support, they felt this not important to tell me about, and after about 8 months, the C: drive starts mysteriously running out of disk space. After a coupla hours research, I figure out the problem and escalate to them. Meanwhile, I do all I can (clean out temp files, uninstall unnecessary software, move the I386 folder out to network drives, and other stuff) until there is nothing left that I can do. I again escalate to them informing them they have no choice left but move the database to the network drives. I wait 4 days for a reply from them. On the 5th day, they email me saying to page them when the server is out of disk space and completely down, and then they will dispatch someone.

It was FREE!
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for a major computer manuf. in Dallas and a fellow tech of mine had a call that I could not believe.

tech:hello,how can i help you?

cust:why does my music program tell me i have to register it? I got it already from you guys.

tech:well sir,it is a third party software and we do not send that program out except in a trial version. you have to sign up through their web site.

cust:NO! I got it from you. I already have the full version.

why can't I download the updates and music for it?

tech:we do not send out full versions of that software. you have to sign up with them on the web site to get the full version of it.

cust:Well the web site wants me to pay for their version!!


tech:yes sir. if you want the full version you will have to pay for it.

cust:NO!! I already have it from you!

(this goes on for a little bit)

tech:(finally)sir, could you look on your invoice for me and see if we charged you anything for that program.

cust:no, but you sent me a full version of windows 98 and i did not have to pay anything for that either. It was all free!

finally the tech got the cust to call cust service becuase he would not believe her that he did in fact pay for his windows 98. and in his mind IT WAS ALL FREE. everyone in the office decided that man must have thought that bill gates got generous that day and just started giving his operating systems away.

Just gotta sit back and wonder about some people.

The Future Of Education
Posted 06/01/2000 by Jon Hicks

This was a few years ago:

My Dad, when he was a secondary school teacher, was the representative for his union, and they decided all their reps should have PCs and email. Failed miserably, of course, as despite the fact all these reps were otherwise employed to teach, they couldn't handle email. Anyway, Dad quits and hands over to his deputy, who was a headmaster or department head or something. He fancied himself as knowing all about computers as he'd been on a few traingin courses and had one at home with an Internet account. He still wanted the union one, though, for the fax-capable printer (I tried explaining you could send faxes over a modem, but I didn't stand a chance against his "expertise") so we handed it over. It took him a week to admit that he couldn't get it working. Eventually gives up, calls Dad, who passes him over to me.

(Note: this PC had Windows 3.11 on it; apparently union techs thought it was simpler)

Call went something like this:

Me: Hi there. Understand you've got a problem

Him: Yes, Windows starts but you can't load anything except Solitaire and Minesweeper.

Me: Huh?

Him: That's all you get; a window with the logo in it. It doesn't look anything like the pictures in the handbook. I've tried all the options on the window menus, but nothing works.

Me: (Totally confused) Can't you see the program groups?

Him: No, just Solitaire and the others.

ME: That's really weird. We never had it do anything like that.

Him: Could you tell me how to reinstall windows? I think it must be that going wrong; I can't find a Start menu either.

Me: (A great light dawns) Ah, well it's not actually Windows 95 there.

Him: No, it says Windows on startup.

Me: Yes, but that says Windows 3.11.

Him: Oh, that's the same. (Teacher-talking-to-dim-pupil-tone of voice)

Me: (In same tone)Uh, no it's not. Tell you what, can you see the window on the screen now?

Him: Um, yeah.

Me: Try clicking on the corner icon and then going to "close"

Him: Uh huh... oh hey! That's the screen like in the picture in the handbook.

Me: Yup. That was "closing a window". Can you remember that?

Him: Ok fine. Bye. (click)

This is what your children face in schools today.

Busy lines
Posted 06/01/2000 by Denis Gomes Franco

This is the second customer this month which calls me to check their computer personally: every time they dial up to the Internet, they hear a busy signal...

Yeah, right. Let's try adding a "BUSYLINE=OFF" to CONFIG.SYS :)

Keep that hard drive clean!
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

After talking my parents into moving with the times and

buying a PC, my husband and I ordered them a very nice

system (nicer than ours, actually). We recently paid them

a visit to get it set up. That was when we found that it

didn't have a floppy disk drive. "Oh well, that's a bit of a

pain, but no big deal," we reasoned, considering that we

could count the number of times we'd used our own floppy

disk drive on the fingers of one hand. "But I NEED a floppy

drive!" my dad exclaimed. "Why?" "Because I've got all

these figures," he said, waving a handful of ten pages of

numbers at us. "I've got to store them on floppy disks."

"Er ... why?" we asked. "You've got a 10 GIG hard drive.

Store them on that." "No, I can't do that," he said,

becoming agitated. "I don't want to use up my hard drive,

and it's much easier to find things if they're on floppies."

This statement had so much wrong with it that all we could

do was gape. After spending a fruitless half-hour trying to

explain how much space there was on a 10 GIG hard drive, and

how long it would take to use it up, and how easy it would

be to find things on it, we finally gave up and got him an

external floppy disk drive. What the heck, it wasn't OUR


Posted 06/01/2000 by Dave

In the tech support line I work, one of the guys once took a call that went along the lines of this:

A woman called in explaining that she really needed our help getting her scanner up and running, as she was helping her son complete a school project. The problem was that every time she attempted to open her scanned image, she received the ubiquitous "illegal operation". She was in a state of extreme panic about this. When asked, it turned out that she had been scanning a bank note, and was worried that computer was reporting her for attempting to counterfeit cash.

Another amusing one:

An elderly lady called, very angry, asking us where her 3D glasses were. We tried to explain that her PC did not come with 3D glasses, but she was adamant. She had bought a 3D card for her grandson, and didn't understand that you did NOT need glasses for it to work.

Go figure. :)

Trial and Error
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

After being asked for weeks by friends to fix their computer, I finally found some spare time to do it.

They had downloaded files from the internet and unzipped them into the windows directory and then deleted what they thought was not needed. They also left orphan files all over the place.

At first I said seeing that you have a recovery CD with all the software on it we can simply format your hard drive and put everything back on there from scratch. I suggested that we save their documents and any important files to disk, so that they don't loose them. After saving all the files to floppy disk, they said oh no we dont want to format the hard drive, just try and delete all those unwanted files from here, so most programs that were manually deleted, could not be uninstalled, leaving behind a whole heap of DLL files in the Win directories. After spending nearly 3 hours on cleaning their hard drive, they turned around and said oh you might as well format it and use the recovery CD, so after going through all that effort, I put in the recovery CD and let it do its thing. 1 hour and several coffee cups later, the deed was done. Then they bought in they took out their Win98 upgrade CD and told me to upgrade their win95 (which was on the recovery CD) to win98. After doing that, there was a bug in one of the softwares that was on the recovery CD which wouldn't allow for it to run on Win98 (which we found out afterwards). After getting the computer to work as it should and creating TEMP folders for them for their downloads they were satisfied and said to me that they should learn how to use computers and work as a techy.

I left the premises (after 8 hours) thinking that should keep them happy for months to come...

...A week after fixing their PC, I received a phone call from them saying...

"We want to learn more about computers and how they work, so we have formatted the hard drive. Now what do we do?"

I was speechles, but I still calmly answered Trial and Error is how I have learnt to use computers and hung up the phone.

From Hong Kong with Love
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work on trouble shooting CD-Writers, this in it's self is a lot of fun espicaly when you get international calls

like this one

Tech: Thanks for Calling us how can we help you??(Customer is calling for Hong Kong)(has a CD-Writer that requires drivers from a floppy)

Customer: I keep getting a NTLDR(a bored Engineers way of saying pop out the floppy) error when I boot up my system I just finished installing your *#$Q Writer, I tryed uninstalling and reinstalling the software, I'm tired of buying products from your company then having to spend so much time on the phone with you just to get it to work

Tech: Okay sir, now you said you just finished installing the software correct ?

Customer: yes

Tech: did you remeber to remove the floppy?

Customer: I ummmmm, Im going ot be mad if that all that it is(Customer removes the floppy and reboots)

Tech: okay sire what is going on?

Customer: my computer just finished booting up into windows

and everything is working fine

The Moral of the story

Remeber to remove the floppy before rebooting

People without brains
Posted 06/01/2000 by Benjamin

Ok, This was a call that I got from a person that was upset that they couldn't hear a audio cd from their writer. At first I though that the audio cable was not pluged into the writer, but the customer said that it was. So, after about 15 min of trouble shooting with no progress. I asked the customer if the VOLUME was turned up on the computers speakers, and wha la IT WORKS!

What can I say!

Cute ain't it?
Posted 06/01/2000 by se7en

I'm a DNS tech with a large DSL service. Here is what a co-worker went through.

Call was to assist customer in moving thier web pages to new site

we are hosting:

Cust: "I cannot get to connect to my new web site"

Me: "No problem ma'am. What FTP client are you using ?"

Cust: "FTP"

Me: "Yes, Ma'am, it is FTP. But what is the software package ?"

Cust: "It is FTP"

Me: "Okay Ma'am. Could you open your FTP program, and read to me what is on the

title bar on the top ?"

Cust: "Okay...........(pause) It reads CuteFTP"

Me: "Ahh....that means the software you are using is called CuteFTP"

Cust: "Oh, really ??? I thought that was just a descriptive term"

{Sound effect in background} **SMACK** on the forehead....

Cust: "I have in the Host Name field......and it will not connect"

Me: "Very well, ma'am. Could you change that to ?"

Cust: "But why would I do that ? You are hosting my web page, right ?"

{Sound effect in background} **SMACK** on the forehead....

Me: "Yes, Ma'am, we will be. But this is our location for you."

Cust: "Oh....Okay..that makes sense."

The saga continues...........

Customer calls back.....still having difficulties. Cannot do 'live' uploading as there is only one phone line in the house.

Cust: We tried again, but was still unable to get our web site.

Me: No problem, ma'am. Did you get any error messages ?

Cust: Yes.. when we tried to connect, we got some error message saying something about 'denied'

Me: HHmm.....that is strange (Opening my FTP client up to connect)

Cust: Well, we noticed that our old connection to FTP web site had different information than what you gave us, so we used that because it worked before.

{Sound effect in background} **SMACK** on the forehead....

Uhhh.. Yeah.

She Don't Know Jack
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Me: I think the network cord is plugged into the wrong place.

She: There's only one place it could go.

Me: Could you look on the wall and see if there are any other jacks the cord could plug into?

She: There's one right above where it's plugged in.

Me: Can you unplug the cord and plug it into the other jack?

She: It won't mess up the computer?

Me: It shouldn't.

She: I just pulled the jack and wiring out of the wall.

Me: ... It unplugs just like a phone cord.

She: You didn't say that. It wouldn't come out so I yanked it...

The other jack worked, but now the first one is hanging from the wall. :/

The dog ate my CD
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work in tech support for an OEM and one day the support agent who sits behind me got a call from a client who wanted to get a new CD. "I know you're not going to believe me," the user said, "but my dog at the CD." And of course he was right in that the tech agent didn't believe his story. So the User being smarter than the average bear made a picture of it, scanned it, and emailed it to the tech support agent who then shared it with everyone in the office. Sure enough the CD was munched into a few bite sized peices with the only thing readable being "If you don't have a CD-ROM drive you can make installation diskettes from this CD on another computer" The picture was so clear and well made that several agents put it up on their workstation desktops.

How big is that plug?
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Hmmm, well I don't do tech support professionally, but I'm the go-to-guy for most of my friends. One of them inherits a fairly modern PC from a recently deceased business. I get a phone call driving to class, and they are trying to get AOL (warning bells go off at this point) to work on their computer. Basically, the PC (under Win95) won't recognize the modem. I take him through the Control Panel's Modem capplet, trying the Standard Modems, but nothing works. I ask him what kind of modem it was, he has no idea, so I get him to open the box and read the markings off of the chip on the modem card. "Parallel processing," is what he reads back to me...

(This is the chipstamp of a 3Com 3C50x -ethernet- card)

Show me the Porno !
Posted 06/01/2000 by Bill Marsden

I work Tech Support for a Computer company here in the UK and we are also an ISP. One day I was sorting a problem out for a customer who had been working at home for some weeks recouperating from illness. Anyway, the story goes like this...

Me: OK customer, I've re-intalled DUN now so your dial-up should work now.

Customer: Ok thanks. Er, before you go, on a personal note, do you know where I can access all this porno stuff thats on the Net?

Me: (stiffling laughter)mmmmm....sorry customer, I wouldnt have a clue where to look!

Customer: (obviously very embarassed) Er, well, OK never mind.

He hung up.

No Title
Posted 06/01/2000 by Valerie Eckersley

For the last 3 years I have worked in CD-Writer tech support and have come across some amusing stories from people who bought these “toys” for their computer.

 The guy who got a saucer stuck in the tray while trying to burn a neat design onto it.

 The lady who wanted to disable the tray door from ejecting the CD after the burn was finished because her cat would attack the tray as the disc would eject and ruining the disc's.

But my favorite is a call that I actually took.

C: I am having problems creating a photo CD.

T: What seems to be the problem?

C: Well I have some pictures that I want to put on this CD but they will not save onto the CD.

T: Ok, let’s go ahead and walk through this together and maybe we can figure out what’s going on.

Do you have a blank CD in the writer?

C: Yes

T: Go to start programs and select the photo software.

C: I’m there.

T: Alright now select the photo’s you want to burn to the CD and drag them down to the bottom box.

C: I have one but it doesn’t fit.

At this point I am confused, what kind of photos is she using.

T: What size is the file?

C: I have no idea.

T: Ok, select one of the files and right click on it, go to properties and there should be a size, tell me what it says.

C: It doesn’t say.

T: Ok, let’s try this a different way. Go to Windows Explorer. Where do you have your photo’s saved?

C: They’re right here next to me.

T: I’m sorry, where are they?

C: They’re right here next to me.

T: What file did you save them to?

C: They’re in a box next to my desk.

By now I see what the problem is and know that the rest of this call is going down hill fast.

T: Ok, let me see if I have this straight. You have a bunch of pictures in a box that you want to burn to a CD, right?

C: Yes; only they won’t fit.

T: I don’t understand how won’t they fit?

C: Well the picture is bigger than my monitor is so I can’t put more than one on the CD at a time.

At this time I politely ask to put her on hold because I know what she’s doing and I don’t want to laugh in her ear.

T: Ok, one more time, you have a writer, some blank CD’s, a bunch of pictures in a box and you want to make a photo album CD, right?

C: Right (sounding pleased that I have finally gotten the picture)

T: Right, now you open the software, put the blank disc into the writer and select the picture you want on the CD and HOLD IT UP TO YOUR MONITOR?

C: Yes.

T: Ma’am, have you scanned them onto your hard drive yet?

C: I don’t want them on my hard drive I want them on this CD so that I can send them to my kids.

T: I understand this but you need to put them on your hard drive first.

C: Well how am I supposed to do that?

T: Well (biting my tongue), First you pick your picture, put it in your scanner, scan it and than save it to a file on your hard drive.

C: Scanner? What’s a scanner?

T: A scanner is a device that that’s a piece of paper or picture and puts it on your hard drive, sort of like a backwards printer. You know with printers if you have a letter on your computer and you want a hard copy you just print right? Well a scanner takes a piece of paper or a picture and puts it on your hard drive.

C: But why do I need a scanner? It doesn’t say anything about a scanner in this owner’s manual.

T: I know but how did you think you were going to get your pictures onto a CD, if you didn’t have them on your hard drive?

C: I told you I am holding the picture up to the monitor so that the computer will see what the picture looks and put it on the CD for me.

Once again I put her on hold, take off my head set, get out of my chair and start kicking my desk wishing it was her head. After a few minutes of abusing my desk I get back to my clueless customer.

T: Thank you for holding I needed to consult with a colleague about this situation. Now let me see if I can explain this to you. You have a bunch of pictures you want on a CD so you need a couple of things to happen. First, you need the pictures, a writer, a scanner and a blank CD. Second, you scan the pictures onto your hard drive and save them in a file. Next you open your photo CD software, put a blank CD into your writer, select the files which are really your pictures drag them to the bottom box in the software and than click on create CD. THAT is how you create a photo CD. It will not work any other way.

C: So you’re telling me that I now have to go out and buy something else to make this work? (getting agitated)

T: If you want to create a photo CD? Yes unless you already have a scanner.

C: Well I don’t have a scanner and no where in this manual does it say that I need one. I can’t believe this. If this is how you people operate than I’m taking this back to the store and am writing a letter to the CEO of **. This is false advertising it says right on the box that this will do all this stuff and now you tell me that I need to go out and get something else? Well I won’t do it; I don’t need another thing for my computer.

T: Than you can’t use the photo album software mam, you can do everything else except that.

C: That’s the reason I bought this thing, so I could make picture CD’s and send them to my kids. Since I can’t this thing is a waste of money. It goes back to the store today and I’m never getting another one.

T: If you feel that you must than we are sorry to lose you as a customer (NOT).

C: Fine than I’m taking it back to the store as soon as I figure out how to get it out of my computer.

T: Ok, have a nice day.

After this call I realized that with the prices dropping on writer’s that every moron in the world would be able to afford one and there would be more calls like this one. I had no intention of going through that again so I got promoted as quickly as possible and now hear these stories second hand.

Am I telepathic?
Posted 06/01/2000 by Jman

I work as a student consultant in a lab for faculty and staff at my University. We deal mainly in helping faculty create presentations, class web sites, and all sorts of media applications.

There's one lady who comes in from time to time to digitize movies, and we've gone through the process (not hard) about 12-15 times. Nevertheless, she continues to ask the same questions every single time she comes in. She remarked to me last time "Maybe I should write this down." Would seem like a good idea, except she's written the instructions down on THREE separate occasions. While generally frustrating me with obvious questions, she totally dumbfounded me with this one:

We were recording the movie, and she just needed about a 9 minute portion of the film. Just being the tech help, I knew nothing about the project, and I'd never seen the movie before. Despite this, she looked at me asked, "So where should we stop recording?"

I just stared at her for a while before finally saying, "Umm...shouldn't you be the one who knows that?"

Mistaken screen
Posted 06/01/2000 by Net

I am currently in the technical support business (boo! hiss! hiss!) and get at least one interesting story a day. ;P Like the consultant that knows everything there is to know about computers...

Me: Thank for calling (company). How can I help you today?

Customer: My tape drive isn't working. It boots and the locks.

Me: Where does it lock, ma'am?

Customer: It locks when it's loading the config.bat.

Me: You mean the autoexec.bat?

Customer: I've been doing consulting for ten years, lady. I know the difference between the autoexec.sys and the config.bat. And it's stopping at the config.bat with a black screen that says "Windows '98 Startup Menu".

Me (laughing behind the mute button): Okay.

You! Outta the genepool!
Posted 06/01/2000 by Swedish Chef

Bright bulb of the community called me up today with the following:

Me - Thank you for calling *********, how can I help you?

BB - I have a version of your product that will only upgrade an older version.

I had it installed, but had to re-format my drive. I need an older version of your product

to re-install it.

Me - We don't keep older versions in stock. Try the bargain bin at your local Computer shop.

BB - I did. They don't have any. Do YOU have an older version you could put on disk and send


Me - Nooo. That would be illegal. Your upgrade version is out of date anyways, why not just

buy the latest version, that way you also get support.

BB - No, I already paid for this a few years ago. I don't want to buy another one. Do

you know of any pirate websites I could download the new version from?

Me - ?!??!??! You want me to point you to an illegal version of our software? Did you

even think about that question before asking me?

BB - Oh yeah, but I was hoping you would tell me anyways.

Me - *click*

The intelligence and audacity of some people astounds me! Out of several hundred million

sperm, that's the one that made it?

No Title
Posted 06/01/2000 by The Flying Monkey

I don't really work for tech support, but I do occasionally answer computer questions for a certain friend of mine. To say that he is computer illiterate would be an understatement. Here are two of the more "interesting" sessions we've had over the phone:


Me: Hello

Him: Hi. Remember that stuff you were saying about movies I downloaded taking up space on the hard drive?

Me: Yes.

Him: Um, is there any way I could get rid of them and get the space back?

Me:(Long pause) Yes.

Him: How?

Me: You could delete the movies.

Him: Really? And that would get the space back?

Me: Yes.

Him: So if I delete the movies, they wouldn't take up space on the hard drive anymore?

Me: That's correct.

Him: Cool, thanks!


(This one just happened a few hours ago. There's a movie he wants to delete, and he saved it directly on his desktop. He showed it to me a few days ago, so I know where it is.)

Him: How do I delete the movie?

Me: Just right click on it and select "Delete". (Then empty out the recycling bin, but I have to get him past this major hurdle first)

Him: How do I do that?

Me:(long pause) Right click on the icon.

Him: What's an icon?

Me: You know that thing you click on to play the movie?

Him: No.

Me:(another long pause) That picture you click on, and when you click on it, it plays the movie.

Him: Oh. Where is that?

Me: On your desktop.

Him: What's a desktop?

Me:(just silence, since I don't know what to say)

Him: Oh, is it that thing with all the little things on it?

Me: I think so.

Him: Okay, so which is the icon?

Me: The icon which you click on to play the movie.

Him: What's it look like?

Me: It's blue, and it's shaped ike a camera.

Him: I don't see it anywhere.

Me: It's a drawing of a CAMERA, and it's BLUE.

Him: Oh, I see it. So now what do I do?

Me: Right click on it, this will bring up a menu. Select delete.

Him: I don't see delete.

Me: It's on there. Select delete.

Him: It's not there.

Me: Well, what does the menu say?

Him: File, Open, Play, View...

Me: Okay, is the movie playing?

Him: No.

Me: Okay, I give up. How about I just come over to your house tomorrow?

Him: Okay.

And believe it or not, I am not making any of this up. By the way, he's also a diehard wrestling fan. I'm not sure if there's a connection here, but...

My forehead is flat because I bang it on my desk all day.
Posted 06/01/2000 by Chris Keavy

I work for a company that sells Inventory, Accounting, and Repair Order software for motorcycle shops. Despite my repeated requests, the owner of my company will not test the IQ of potential customers, so here's a few of the things I've had to put up with:

#1 - This happenned to someone else who works here.

Tech: I'm having trouble dialing into your computer. Turn the modem off and back on again to reset it.

Customer: Every time I do that, the guys in the shop say their screens freeze. The modem is the box under my monitor, right?

Tech: No, that's the computer. The modem is the little box with the lights on the front.

#2 - A customer called to say that he had run out of preprinted forms, and wanted to use plain paper. His problem was that when he put the plain paper in, the "paper out" light stayed on. After a few tries reloading the paper, I finally told him to ship the printer to me. This was a wide body printer, and in the process of trying to load the plain paper, which was the same width as the preprinted form, he had slid the tractor feeds all the way over to the right. I put them back to the left and sent it back.

#3 - The same person called me asking how to install a program on his PC. This is a system he has been using for several months. After we finished, he asked, "How do I get back into your program?". I had to answer, "Click on the icon you've always used." Of course, it worked.

#4 - All cleaners are not created equal:

Customer: I can't do any backups. I keep getting an error.

Me: Do you have a tape drive cleaner?

Customer: No, but I sprayed in some of the industrial strength engine cleaner that works on everything else around here.

Me: Let me connect you with a salesman so you can buy a new tape drive.

I got my revenge one day, though. My boss had to train one of these people. What would normally be a one hour session ran to three. He couldn't do anything about it because the person being trained was the owner of the other company.

The Lost Highway
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I, the not-quite-clueless user, decide to splurge on a DSL line, so call my local telco (SWB) to set it up. I ask a few questions about the hardware they're going to send me and get decent answers. One last thing I ask, since they're going to be my new ISP (it's a package deal), is what kind of connections they maintain to the internet backbone, are they peered with other ISPs in the area/region, etc. The guy on the other end, who had been very helpful up to that point, had absolutely no clue what I meant by "internet backbone". He even thought I was making stuff up when I tried to explain what trunk lines were (probably because I ended up trying to get the point through with the "internet superhighway" analogy). At least he had heard of MCI. He couldn't even tell me what city the damn servers are in. I now have visions of packets floating through SWB's system like the little kids in the Family Circus cartoons.

It just goes to show that an expert in one area might not have a clue about other related stuff.

Power Punt
Posted 06/01/2000 by Wheres my L.A.R.T. ?

User: My Power point slides are'nt printing

ME: (Looking), Ah, the printers on pause. Restart printer. Lovley.... Rise from chair, make like im leaving

User: Why isnt it in colour??

Me: Look at presentation, see it is in BLACK AND WHITE

User: Winge Winge, systems ***p, etc..., it was like that last year....

Me: looking at last years, it powerpoint 4....

Me: did you get a "you may lose some formatting, etc..."

User: Yes.....

after explaing the need to save it as a 95/97 ppt file, TWICE, or re - colour it, then going to get coffee (and cyanide) the last thing I hear is..

User: how come my colour settings dont work on my machine

Im having a BBAADDDD day

A strange noise
Posted 06/01/2000 by Kromwell

I do Tier II tech support at a facility with roughly 1800 or so users, so run across my fair share of fun ones. One day I had a ticket come in, of a user having their pc making a odd noise.. Figuring it was probably the hard drive, or power supply acting up, I went out to look at the system. I got there and listend to the system, and it sounded perfectly normal...The user said, just wait, it'll do it in a minute, and sure enough, a weird noise started up, and then quite after about 5 seconds or so.. The pc was under the desk and kind of pushed back, so I squated down and listened..It happened again, and sounded like it was near the back of the pc, but didnt sound like it was the pc...There was a copier on the back side of her desk, so I listened by it, but it wasnt coming from there. So...I slide under the desk, and got as close as i could to the back of the machine, holding onto the front of the desk to sort of prop myself up. The noise happened again, but the odd thing was, I felt it in my hand... So I stood up, and pulled out her top right desk drawer. She had 3 pagers for new employee's in the back of the drawer, on vibrate mode, and the noise was from the 3 of them going off regularly from people paging them, rattling around, on the bare metal of the drawer. She was at least gracious about it and most embarrased too. That was a little over a year ago, and anytime I see her, I make sure to set my pager off, to which she replies with a smile and a laugh "You little a**hole" LOL

French Conversion IC
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

A photocopier customer had heard or read something about a french conversion IC for her photocopier and asked to have it installed. A tech was dispatched and installed the modification checking to make sure it worked. The person who had ordered the IC was not there when the tech did the install so he had someone else sign the work order and left. The next day we recieved a phone call from the customer. The French IC was not working. The tech was sent out to check it out. Sure enough it was working. Everything in the display was now in French not English. The tech called the customer over and showed her that the display was OK. It was definitly in French.

"Yes" she said "but my copies are still coming out in English!"

Posted 06/01/2000 by CoronaRide

I'm a Financial Advisor with a rather prestigious wall street brokerage house. While I understand that this board is mainly for computer help, I couldn't resist sharing this..

(this was before clients were able to view their accounts online)

A client calls me up...

Me: Good Morning, soandso, how can I help you?

Client: Well, I'm trying to look up the price of my stock up on the internet!

Me: Oh, is that going?

Client: Not so good!

Me: What's wrong?

Client: I can't find my stock anywhere!

Me: Well, what sites have you tried out?

Client: Sites? What are those?

Me: [slightly annoyed] You know...places on the internet..where you can go and get information. There are 'sites' on the internet where you can go and check the price of your stock.

Client: Oh! Ok...well, I have AOL.

Me: uhm...Right..can you get on the internet?

Client: Yes..I'm on AOL right now..

Me: No..go to the actually internet..not the AOL service..(ok, so i didn't do a great job explaining the difference, but i'm not really tech support)

Client: ok...what is this hittip thing?

Me: Hittip??

Client: Yeah..HTTP

Me: oh..that's a problem with the AOL software..if you keep that in there AOL will charge you extra..

Client: Those BASTARDS!

Me: Right..delete that out and type and hit "go"

Client: ok..

Me: Now type in the symbol of your stock where it says "Get Quote" and then hit the "enter" key

Client: pulled up the quote..but its for the wrong stock!

Me: Hold on, let me check your account...ok, you own 100 shares of IBM..type in the symbol IBM

Client: I *DID*!

Me: Ok, when you pull up the quote screen does it say "International Business Machines" and then bring up a last price?

Client: YES! But that's not my stock! That's everyone ELSE's stock! I want to know what MY stock is worth!


also...when i worked tech support for a shipping company's software systems..can't say their name, but their initials are U-P-S..client called up and said that she couldn't connect to our servers to transmit her postage log..and that she thought she was doing something illegal..when i asked why she thought she was doing something illegal she replied that the police and fire department were coming to get her...very puzzled i found out that she had set her modem up to dial 9 before dialing when she didn't need to, told her modem that she needed to dial 1 before making long distance calls, and entered our number as 1-800-XXX-XXXX..hence her modem would dial 9,1,1

No Title
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Screen Name

I was helping someone set up his computer, and

he wanted to log in with a

password.... now you have to understand he's got

somewhat of a rebellious

attitude and goes for the shock effect... so when

the computer asked him

to enter his password, he keys in "penis"...

I nearly fell off the chair from laughing so hard

when the computer



Email Error
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for a large Internet service provider who deals with corporate clients who generally know what they are doing.............

Good morning welcome to technical support how can I help you

What the @*&# is wrong with your server I pay you $1000s of dollars each month and I expect to be able to get my email when I log in of a morning. I've been trying for over an hour to get my @#$%ing mail and your stupid server just gives me an error

Ok sir I understand your frustration, what is the error that your receiving?

It just keeps $#@!ing saying "downloading message one of one"

uh OK... and what happens after that

I have to hit cancel or it just hangs there

Hmm let me just check your mailbox......... Ok you have 3 messages and the first one is about 500kb which should take a minute or two to download..... how long is it before it times out

No you don't understand email is instant that why is called &^*%ing email I don't have to wait.

Normally do you just recieve short text messages?

Yes that what email is isn't it?

Ok it appears you have a larger file with an attachment that may take a couple of minutes to download could we just try it again and when the 'error' comes up just leave it and we'll see what happens........

Oh its downloaded it now how did tht happen?


Posted 06/01/2000 by Clark

I work for an ISP, but I never really thought that I would

get this call. I guess it happens to all of us in time.

user:Hi I tried to dial in last night and got a no dial

tone error so I tried again and got another no dial tone

error so I pick up the phone and it was dead. Is there

anyway that I can still dial in or do I have to call

(insert phone company here)?

me(totally stund):???? Ah, ya, you um, need working phone

line to dial in on.

Ya gotta love em' eh

CQG Scapegoat
Posted 06/01/2000 by Andy Russell

Working as a phone support tech in my business can be very trying at times (as with any support job). A great many of our customers are not computer users of the standard type. They generally set up our software and read the data on the screen without touching the computer afterwards. One day a customer called me with a page placement problem on his new mulitple monitor setup. I asked him to place his cursor on the "Start" button and left click. When the open,explore,find dialoge window appeared, I asked if he was left handed and he said no. The mouse was on the right side of the keyboard and it seemed that the buttons were reversed on in the comtrol panel. I told him to right click the start button and then to settings etc.. Taking an unusually long time to get to the mouse icon in the process. as the cusomer was having a hard time "controlling" the mouse. When, after 15 minutes or so, we got to the mouse icon and opened the properties, I was stunned that the mouse was indeed set for a right handed user. At this point the light came on. "Which way is the cord pointing from the mouse?" I asked. "Toward my hand" was the reply. "Sir, turn the mouse around so the cord points away from your fingers" "WOW this is even easier control now and much easier to push the buttons as well!"

I had to hold my laughter till I ended the call, but configuring his monitors went much smoother than it could've had we tried without getting his mouse turned around. Don't you think people should be given a test before they can get a computer?????

Stupid Techs
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

My job is basically doing phone support for end-users. Sometimes these end-users have no clue what's going on so we send out field techs. More often than not I'm talking to some tech on the phone and get the distinct feeling I'm talking to an end-user.

ME: Move the bat file over to the new computer and I want you to check out what the .bat file is doing. Just open up a DOS prompt and run it.

TECH1: If I reboot into DOS mode I won't have the network drivers.

ME (blinking in disbelief): You don't have to reboot into DOS mode. Just run it from the DOS prompt.

TECH1: It's moving the files to a directory. C:\stupidity but it can't find the directory. Should I create it?

ME: Yeah I think that'd be a good idea.

This tech quit a week after this conversation.

TECH2: How do I go to the control panel?

ME: Start button, Settings, Control panel. You can also double click on the My Computer icon.

TECH2: Which button again?

This tech was fired two weeks after he was hired.

TECH3: Okay I installed the program and I'm still getting an error.

ME: Did you reboot after you installed it?

TECH3: No.

ME: Reboot please.

TECH3: Oh it works now.

This tech still works for us.

TECH4: Okay how do I remove this application?

ME: Go into the control panel's add/remove programs and remove it.

TECH4: How do I do that?

This guy still works for us too.

Floppy Floppy
Posted 06/01/2000 by Markus

This happened way back. 3 1/2" floppys were considered the latest and greatest on PCs, 5 1/4" were still pretty much the standard.

The COO's assistant walks up to me with a 5 1/2" floppy (I) sans(/I) sleeve (just the inner disk). She wanted to read that "but I can't".

Well, being the COO's assistant, she had the latest and greatest equipment, so only a 3 1/2" drive. Now she got this funny disk which did not fit her drive. So out came the scissors and the floppy was cut out of its sleeve!

It still didn't fit her drive...

Fitting it into a makeshift sleeve made from an empty disk we were able to retrieve the data on another machine. Boy, these 5 1/4" floppys were (U)way(/U) more robust than what we get today, weren't they?

Wish my eyes were that good
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

A customer called me in a panic because she had "clicked

something and lost 5 years worth of data!" After a few

questions, it was clear that the customer had not been able

to get back into her data.

Wanting to be certain that the data was really safe and

knowing that it was a small office without any fulltime

tech support staff, I asked to speak with the person

responsible for changing the daily backup tapes in the

fileserver. I was placed on hold.

A moment later, my same panicked customer was back on the

phone. She said that she had gone and gotten the tape from

the server but that the tape "is blank". I asked how does

she know that the tape is blank. Her answer was that she

was looking at it. I said "you mean you have the tape in

the tape drive and you are looking at the tape contents

with your computer?" She answered "No, I have the tape in

my hand and it is blank!" I asked "what is blank, the tape

or the label on the tape?" She said "The tape!"

I wish my eyes were good enough to read magnetic tape!

Alphabet UUoes
Posted 06/01/2000 by Dan

I work for a company that assists realtors with several modem based programs. Needless to say, we assist all kinds of people: the I-know-it-all-so-I-won't-listen types, the older people, the I-don't-know-anything-about-computers-so-I-won't-listen-to-you people.....all kinds of folks.

As I speak, I am on the phone with a lady that has a heavy accent. During our tech support sessions, we often have to have end users use the FIND function to find specific files and delete them. The files for this program all start with the same 4 letters, one of those letters being a W. After 5 minutes of the user telling me there are No Files Found (impossible if the program is or has ever been installed), I asked her what she had typed in the NAMED section of the window:

Me: What exactly do you have typed in the NAMED section of this window?

User: (dashes will serve as other unimportant letters) ---UU (I told her to input ---W)

Me: (Starting to laugh) No ma'am, I need you to put a W at the end.

User: Yes, thats what I have, ---UU.

Me: (Mute, laugh, tell others whats happening while giving her the hold penalty for stupidity) No, I need you to put in the LETTER W, not 2 U's.

User: Oh, ok. I thought you meant 2 U's. Ok, it found a bunch this time.

Me: (Thinking "Go Figure") Ok, now we can find.......

After this, about 30 minutes later, I was done, and she was on her way.

Like I said, all kinds.

We're from the cable company, and we're here to help you !
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Well here it is in print because everyone keeps asking me about it !!! (grin)


It's a warm sunny Monday (Yesterday - -May1) and I don't have to go to work because I'm off to the Ingram Road Show downtown at the convention centre.

I scooted in to work at about 9:00 AM just for the hell of it for 5 mins. to check stuff out and re-set the backup tapes, etc, everything's peachy no problems. So off I go to the show, saw some of the old gang from Express Micro, yapped, ate lunch, got 5 t-shirts (grin) you know work, work, work.... Then I thought I better check my cell phone for massages since cell phones don't work for shi* in the "Telus" convention centre.

And low and behold there is a couple! They're from one of the girls at the office, she's called twice. There's no internet access at the office and the external e-mail is down too. Even the servers acting weird ! Hummmm !?! It was fine this morning .. Oh well, back to the office.

I walk in, "Hi, Howdy, We're Down, I need to check my mail, yada yada...." User stuff, nothing panicky of course ! We don't have e-comm servers or any web sites up or anything. I go to my office, in there you go through another door in to the server room both doors are locked, I stroll up to the PDC and go to do a test ping... (bloody Shaw's probably down again) Just as I go to do a ping on the console I glance over to the cable modem to see if the cable lights are flashing and the bastards not THERE !!

I'm like holy sh*t ! Where the hell is the modem !?!? The damm cable modem is GONE!! The RJ-45 patch cable coming out of the router is dangling in space, the TV Coax connector has joined it hooked up to nothingness!!! What the he*l !!!???

I go ! Hummmm, I know why we're down ! That's was pretty easy to debug !! So I go out to the receptionist, who was here today !??? She goes, "Oh yea, a guy from Shaw was in." Ding !

Oh shi* ! I called Shaw last week and told them to come pick up the router we were leasing from them because we went out and bought our own for the VPN!!! So, I go see the women who let him in to the server room and she hands me our copy of the work order from Shaw.....

Subscriber : Circa Telecom etc etc

14 - 700 58th Ave. earth, yada yada ...

Under the box marked "Special Instructions"




Hummm, what a bunch of morons .... So I jump on the phone to Shaw's Tech guys ... 750-4797

"Hi, Dave Cason here, Network dude for Circa Telecom ..... I have a work order here for you to come pick up the router sitting on my credenza packed up ready to go" ... "Can you tell me WHY the tech pulled the damm "LIVE" "ON" "BLINKING" "WORKING" Cable modem???"

"Oh and Uh by the way. WE'RE DOWN !!! The whole place !!! Hellllooo!?!? No Pingy's Here!!!"

The guys like, "What!?!?!" I said again the guy who came in to pick up the router didn't do that. He pulled the live cable modem off the wall, unplugged all the connectors, packed up the power supply and buggered off!!!

(Silence ..... from the Shaw guy .... grin)

So I give him the work order number he throws me on hold for 5 mins, comes back and says ...Oh , hummmm, I dunno, I'll call you back....

The contractor's technician dude (and I use the term "Tech" loosely) didn't know what a bloody router was?!?!?! You know "SHAW CABLE" the guys who supplied it and we leased it from, the guys who hooked it up to begin with, the ones who own the damm stuff !!

(GRIN) !!!!!

So I look on the work order again, and I see the works " ASSIGN TO APEX " on it so I called Apex Cable.

"Hello, please sir, if I'm very good can I have my modem back?" The guys like, "what?!?" So he grabs my name and number to call me back and he did too ... pretty quickly thankfully, it wasn't them who did it, it was some guys called " Direct Connect Communications" So I called them .....

"There like... "Oh yea Shaw just called us .... " So again I'm saying .... "Hello Dude?, useful thing here ... can I have my modem back?" (grin) So the tech was in the NW went back to the office and brought it back around 4:00 PM ... I dunno if it was the same guy but I showed him "THEIR" work order with the now cryptic " Customer wants router picked up"

I filled him in on who this obscure tiny company called "Cisco" is and what they make and how the things that they do make look exactly unlike a Motorola CyberSurfer modem !!!

So, who wants a Shaw Account?!? Should I send this to Gordon? (Gordon Shaw - C.E.O. guy lives at Shaw court downtown - dresses nicely) (grin)

Man, it's not just a job it's an ADVENTURE !!!! Anyway so if your Shaw accounts dies sometimes make sure that the cable modem is still attached, it would probably help !

Eventually I went back to the Ingram Show and had a few drinks !!!

Yes, you can mail this to whoever you want, everyone needs a good laugh now and then ....


Dave Cason

Network Geek

Circa Telecom

Not supported
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Our company has policies on what software is approved to load on the workstations. The programs we run take up a large amount of disk space, so there is not room for other applications. I took a call from a user how said that his computer is locking up. He also went on to say that various programs have been slow to come up lately. I asked him to Ctrl+Atl+Del and End Task on everything running. The user then tells me he can not get this one program to close. When I aksed the name, he replied "Real JukeBox" I suddenly see the problem. I informed the user that was not a software we support and should not be on his system. I asked if he plays his own music CD's and he said yes. I had him check the space on the C drive. There was very little space left. This user quickly learned that Real JukeBox will record whatever Cd you play. I instruced him to uninstall Real JukeBox.

The Accidental FDisk
Posted 06/01/2000 by J. Gayhart

Several years ago, our entire company (consisting of five or

so people) was able to fit into one large office room.

Anyway, one of my co-workers e-mailed me (keeping in mind

that I am only five feet away) saying that he accidently

deleted a large number of files on our network. I couldn't

believe that he couldn't just walk over or something.

Of course, this was the same user who had other problems all

the time. One day, he tells me (couldn't get his e-mail to

work) that his computer won't boot. So, I walk over and

take a look. Sure enough, it won't boot. There isn't even

a bootable partition. In fact, there were NO partitions!

I casually asked him what had happened. He said that he was

playing around with FDisk to see what would happen. You

would think that all of the warning from FDisk would mean

something. Ah well...

Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

A customer phoned our support center for guidance in printing out a sales report. Our technician gladly walked them through the 7 easy steps. It seemed simple enough and they closed the call ticket.

No more than 5 minutes later the same customer called and got the same technician and asked the same question. Again the technician walked him through the necessary steps.

Guess what happened next, the customer called about 10 minutes later with the same question and the same technician answered the call. Except this time the technician said, "How many times in one day do I have to show you how to do this simple task? You have a user's manual. Did you ever think about opening it and reading it."

With that the entire support center cheered. Of course the technician reprimanded the next day. If only all phone support technicians could say what they think.

Double density Floppy
Posted 06/01/2000 by Markus

I'm not a tech support person, but sort of a geek, so in each IT environment I'm often the one who gets asked.

I was working in a company that just started to employ PCs for administrative use. A new secretary had to learn to cope with the technology (she was 2 years before her retirement and had been working on typewriters all her life).

One day she approached me and told me "This machine keeps asking me for another one!" "For another what?" "Well these disk things, I have three of them but now it already ask me for five!"

Turned out, somebody had set up her machine with a batch process for backup of her documents. She had to start this manually once a week and then feed the disks. She dutifully did this, but of course, as stored documents increased, so did the demand for storage space.

I then asked her what she had done when she was asked for the fourt and fifth disk.

"Well, I fed it the third one another and another time!"

Mind you, I don't blame these people for their behaviour. It's just that new technology keeps being inflicted upon them, and they cope as good as they can, using experiences they have from their previous life. Training is usually the first thing that is sacrificed when new systems are introduced and funds are short (they always are), and users are left out in the rain.

I must say that some of the all time favourites in support jokes feature perfectly sensible answers of the "dumb users" when judged with a non-geek attitude ("Is your printer black and white or is ti colour?" "It's, hum, beige.")

Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

After a couple of years of working on a helpdesk you kinda get experience and boredom going hand in hand.

I'm sitting in my cubicle feeling bothered by every call that comes in, because I'm browsing the internet. Impatience starts kicking in and sometimes I just do not bother to formally introdusce myself.

Here's the word for word rundown of one of my calls a few years ago.



*sigh* - picking up phone.

Immediately hearing a quick beeping sound I tell the customer:

"I know what your problem is, there is something lying on your keyboard...Please remove that."

*beeping stops*

"Glad to be of help."

Enduser "Errr..thanks"

"Have a nice day"


I don't think the user really ever understood how I was able to do that :))

the Blind leading the Stupid
Posted 06/01/2000 by Simone

I am in no way a techie, but being the most computer proficient person @my company, it was decided that I would (learn, install, and) run our new NT server/network. Here are two short, but typical tales:

1)I arrive at work to find that everyone is bitching that "The network is broken!" 'cuz everytime someone tries to get into their personal data file (all of which reside on our smallish server)nothing happens. After several anxious moments, I discover that, before leaving the night before, someone had decided to "give the server a break" and had turned it off.

2)During the setting up of accounts, I explained how to set up an account to one of the company's upper echelon people, and then told that person to go ahead and make an account for himself (figuring that the best way to train these people was to make them do things like this for themselves,) and then I left the room to go assist another user. Several days later, this person comes to me and says that he still can't log on to the server, and that it must be broken. I have him attempt it in front of me, and watch carefully as he gets to the point where he needs to enter his user name and password. The password comes up as wrong.

We spend several minutes re-entering it, trying all the variations we can think of before he admits that the last time it worked was when he was creating his account. What had happened? He had gotten so frustrated that at the point of entering his password, he had "punched the keyboard" thus entering several extra letters onto the end of his password.......


Internet Down
Posted 06/01/2000 by Rick Phillips

Recent e-mail I received from an employee in an out-of-town office that uses the internet to connect to the e-mail server at my location:


Our internet connection is down.

"Magic" Ping
Posted 06/01/2000 by evilelric

I have a cable modem with service through @home. One day my network connection was down (I could tell by the blinky lights on the modem, that it had no cable connection, so that it was on their end). So, of course, I call technical support, and get their level 1 technician. The conversation roughly follows:

T: = Technician

M: = Me

T: So, have you changed anything on your computer lately?

M: No, and if I did, what would this have to do with my cable modem??

T: Well, if you installed some software, then it could change your network settings, and that could be the problem.

M: So, what you're saying is, that if I installed software on my pc it *might* cause my cable light to go out on the cable-modem?? (This cable modem is an external, connected to a hub).

T: Yes, sometimes that happens.

M: Okay, well, I haven't installed anything on my pc in about a week, and the cable light went out today. I'm able to connect via a dial-up account with another isp, and I can't even ping your gateway.

T: Okay, what's your ip address?


T: Hmmm... I can't ping it.

M: I know, that's what I've been trying to tell you.

T: Well, have you tried rebooting your pc?

M: What?!?!?!?

T: Reboot your pc (now he thinks I'm suffering from BDU).

M: Okay, if that's what you want, but I don't think it'll work.

-- Reboot pc

-- Dial back into dial-up isp.

M: Okay, it's rebooted, now what?

T: Is your cable light back on?

M: Of course not, I've even reset the cable modem.

T: Hmmm.. let me try and ping it again.

--Cable light comes back on just before I hear him clicking on his kb.

M: Hey!! Cable's back up.

T: Yeah, I sent a "Magic" ping.

M: A what?

T: A "Magic" ping.

M: Can you describe this ping to me?? I've never heard of one of those.

T: No, I can't it's real technical, and only we can use it.

M: You mean, that you have a "Magic" ping that only you can run?

T: Yes, now, is there anything else?

M: Yeah, I'd like to talk to a level 2 technician, because I think you need better training in BS.

T: What?


I then called billing to get credit and mentioned the "magic" ping, and the operator laughed herself silly. So did a few of the other technicians that worked there when I've called back.

btw- I should mention, that I've been working with comptuers for about 15 years, been on the Internet for about 10 of those (through school), was a Net Admin for an ISP (the largest local isp in the state), tech support mgr for said isp, and have been doing tech support for 5 years.

You can now understand why I was kinda surprised, that this guy had a "Magic" ping.

Buggy Computer
Posted 06/01/2000 by James Bly

Customer: How can I keep bugs out of my computer?

Me: Well, don't download programs from online sources that you don't trust, or install cheap software from bargain bins at software stores. Also guard against what programs you run that you get from friends and don't play with settings you're not sure about.

Customer: No, I mean real bugs. Ants are trying to get into my computer through the vents.

speed demon
Posted 06/01/2000 by zoso

While enjoying a day of tech support at a small (read: quality) local ISP, I got a fun call. A rather rude gentleman wanted to cancel service, claiming that he was unhappy with the connection. I asked what was wrong, and he told me that he doesn't use the computer, but his son left him a note telling him why he should cancel. He read to me over the phone,

"connection slow. webpages slow. no instant messages. even when the download is complete, the whole download isn't there. keywords don't work. too slow."

He was also upset that he could only connect at 48 Kpbs, and said that AOL seemed much faster. I put him on hold while i got the supervisor and took a deep breath. My supervisor took the call, got the same sob story, and politely replied "Too slow? Gee...48Kpbs, thats actually pretty fast, considering that the maximum speed allowed by law is 53K" A lost customer - oh well. By his own admission, the man said that "connecting and downloading on AOL is like a dream." Keep dreaming, pal.

No Title
Posted 06/01/2000 by me

I'm not a real techie, I'm just a kid but when this happened at my school, I knew I had write it down.

All these teachers were trying to turn on a computer and they kept on pushing the on/off switch over and over again but the monitor was still black. They then brought in the teacher for computer science but he couldn't find anything wrong even after he had checked all the connections. Finally, I walked over to the computer and turned the knob for the monitor to brighten and it worked! Some kids like to play tricks on the teachers by doing that. They also switch keyboards so they can control another computer.

Reg Rep
Posted 06/01/2000 by Brattye

I work for the big bad monster of ISP's (so sue me. it's money) I used to work in Tech Support, but got moved over to Registration not too long ago. I've had some doozies while I've worked here, but I just had the wierdest call of my phone rep career, all 7 years of it.

I answer with the usual schpiel and she starts off reciting her street address (just the street, not what city), and then told me that there's been a Internet Cable truck parked at the corner of her street, and that this was the second day it had been there. She described the truck and the driver, then told me that the driver was going house to house and she was wanting to know if he was lost. She also had the definite paranoia thing going too.

Me: uhh.....??? This is Monster, I'm afraid we don't offer cable internet yet, so he's probably with another company.

Caller: Oh.... OH!!! oh!!!!!!!!!! *click*

I couldn't help it, I had to sign off and crack up. Then I had to explain to my podmates and have a good laugh with them. Despite the media, we're not Big Brother......yet! :~)

Dumb user? Dumb tech!
Posted 06/01/2000 by naybur

Here's one for you. I was installing NT Workstation 4 on a name brand computer who shall remain anonymous, so no one will take offense. Anyways, we couldn't get the installation to complete, would always crash at the end or give us the famous Blue Screen Of Death. Having installed this OS, like, a Bazillion times, I couldn't, for the life of me, figure it out. I do tech support, so I avoid calling tech support unless I'm really stuck, not wanting to waste anyone's time. But this was too much, so I call the manufacturer's tech line. Explain the problem to him, and he asks me "Have you tried installing Service Pack 5?" Realising that I wasn't going to get anything intelligent out of this guy, I decided to thank him for his time, remarking that I'd try his suggestion (once I could install NT!) Keep messing around with the thing, swapping out memory, graphics card, hard drives, etc...still no luck. Call them up again, this time the tech tells me there's a bug, I have to remove one of the 2 cpus, install NT, add the second cpu, then run the addcpu utility. I ask why this is necessary, he tells me NT isn't good with dual processor configurations! I finally ask to speak to his supervisor, who finally guessed that I was installing straight off the CD rather than the floppy (faster that way), and that their hardware is known to have problems when using this procedure. I tell him that I had already explained my procedure to 2 of his technincians, so he thanked me for pointing out that they needed some extra training. After that, installed from the floppys, all was well...

No Title
Posted 06/01/2000 by Diana Cukrov

I was a ISP technician for a large provider. Customers would call in and we would help them set up the connection, either with the Internet connection wizard or going through all the steps, control panel,, dial up networking, etc.

A customer called me one day, I asked her if she had windows 95, 98,, she said 98. I explained to her how to click on my computer, dial up networking., then went to control panel, network, internet options,, I spent an hour or so on the phone with her. She told me she had a seperate phone line for her computer. After all that I had gone through giving her the settings, numbers, everything..

I told her since she had another phone line to dial up and see if she could get connected.

She says to me "Well I am at work, my computer is at home".

Call Waiting
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for, since they are part of the phone company they decieded to offer call waiting as well, called bellsouth internet call waiting, well yesterday i got a call for a lady

me- Thanks for calling bel (she cuts me off)

Cust- yeah i got this call wave and it ain't workin

me- I'm sorry but we don't support call wave just bellsouth

Cust- yeah, mine isn't workin it says Error blah blah blah

me- Sorry mam but we don't have any information on call wave, just the bellsouth program

Cust- (talkin down to me like i was 5) yeah and mine isn't workin


cust- I had to get call wave b/c i was out of the bellsouth area

Me- yes and that is the reason i can't help you

Cust-Oh, ok

Me- yeah, sorry

Cust- oh, ok, you mean you can't help

Me- (beating head off wall now) no i can't help you

Cust- ok, bye bye

Me- Ugh!!!

The Mysterious Sound Comming from the mail
Posted 06/01/2000 by Code Master

One day well at the office I get a call from my mom in a frantic tone of voice, So I asked her what the matter was,She said, when she opened a E-mail titled:Fwd:The Haunted Computer of the MFC Network(Sent to me through my mom's account accidently) and as soon as she opened it she herd the musical stylings of Kid Rock Start playing in the back round she freaked. Not knowing I like the music she freaked thinking she had opened a new virus of something,She Hastily turned off the computer and ran to the phone and called me thinking she had blown my new computer up she started begging my forgivness before I had a chance to explain that it was only my icq URL sound setting!! The Moral of the story(Funny tale) is that you should NEVER let your parents use your computer or disable your communication devises/programs before leaveing YOUR computers left unsupervised when leaveing for any ammount of time!

Signed Owner and operater of CM_KM_2000 Computer Consulting Firmİ 1999-2000

Assorted Stupidity
Posted 06/01/2000 by Mike Finnell

I work at an office supply store who shall remain nameless

(one of the big 2). I've been employed there for about 9

months now and have had and heard my fair share of stupidity.

Here are a couple of my and other coworkers tales.

Tale 1) Where is your himem.sys?

I was working the closing shift one night when a middle aged

woman asks me for help. I ask her what her problem is and she

says she needs to by a modem, while pointing to the computers.

I said, a little shocked but i got over it, that you dont need

all that just one of these, pointing to the modems in the glass case.

Relieved she wouldnt have to spend that much she askes, as I

remove the cheapest modem from the case "Does this come with himem.sys?"

Puzzled I say, "No, whats wrong?" "Well my computer says I need

himem.sys do you sell it?" Restraining i Tell her we don't, and to chec

CompUSA right up the road. Sheesssh.

Tale 2) Colon.

Not my tale but funny, my co-worker is on phone with a customer

hes trying to tell the customer how to run a program he tells her to

type C:\[Command String] her responce "Wheres the colon key?"

Tale 3) Its not printing and I have new ink.

An elederly gentelmen comes in one day with his lexmark printer

in tow. He tells me he just got ink and it wont print now, but

it printed fine before. I open the printer take out the cartridge

and pull of the little plastic tab, reinsert the cartridge

and tell him hes all set. He thanks me and walks out. As

simple a problem is i don't look down on this guy, as he

was honest when he said he didnt know what he was doing and he

knew it wasnt really my job to help.

Tale 4) Tandy Man Can

A guy calls one day and my Sales Manager Rich answers. They

guy has an old tandy computer from radio shack and wants to know

if he can run windows 98. Not wanting to tell they guy no, even though

he knows it'll be next to impossible, he tells him to call radio shack.

They must have a sence of humor because they had him call him right back

and tell my manager of course it will. He then has the man call radio shack back

and ask them again if it'll run windows 98. he calls back adn says

they said it couldnt but it could run 3.1. He asks if he have it in stock

(this no more than 3 weeks after Win2k comes out) to which we reply no

upset he hangs up the phone.

Tale 5) Windotosh

Me: Hello this is electronics how may I help you?

Cust: Do you have Windows for the Mac.

Me: (Knowing she doesnt mean a Win emulator), they dont make it.

Cust: Are you sure?

Me: Possative.

Cust: So I can't use any software that says for Windows?

Me: (Pause) No.

Cust: Well thats stupid. (click)

Me: oye!

Well thats it...for now.

The South Will Rise Again...
Posted 06/01/2000 by Ender

While working for an outsourcing company for a major player in the Dixie internet market, I got a call from a jovial Kentuckian who reported his password wasn't being accepted. After the usual admonishments to check his dialer, make sure his CAPS was off, etc, I got into the password server and got ready to reset his pass. After verifying his ID, he asked me if I could see his existing password. I replied no, but I can reset it to whatever he wanted. He replied, well, my old one was Y2KKK, could you reset it to that? I did as I was told, but wondered what might have happened had he gotten a black agent! :)

X Rated support??
Posted 06/01/2000 by Jowie

I had a customer call in needing a new installation key for her software. I gave her a new key, pronouncing the letters phonetically, and she proceeded to ask me why I used "X as in X-RAY" instead of "X as in X-RATED". That startled me. Then she asks me if I have an internet connection at home. I said yes, and then she proceeds to ask me if I am single. Not one to lie, I of course said yes. She then proceeds to give me a website address, insisting that I write it down. Just to get her off my back I told her I was. Its her personal porn site. She tells me to go home, log on to it and see the famous person I was just talking to, and to send her an email... RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT....

it's just too small
Posted 06/01/2000 by zapp

just a quick one

I sent a co-worker (the press representative of our company) a Word doc via e-mail. It contained about 120 pages. 10 minutes later she calls me.

Her: Nice work, but everything is just so small and tiny...

me:???? what do you mean?

Her: Well, I opened the doc and everthing is just too small to read it. I guess I have to call Tech Support..

me: wait, wait, I'll be over in a couple of minutes and take a look at it (knowing that she's a real computer whiz -NOT!! I thought she shouldn't bother the guys from Tech)

me:(in her office, taking a quick look at her monitor) do u see the little number with the little percentage sign?

her: yeah! why?

me: well lets just set it to 100% instead of 25%?

her: wow, where did you learn how to do that?


The Big Box
Posted 06/01/2000 by zoso

another fun customer:

C: Hi, i spoke with someone else just a minute ago and they helped me with my email settings, but now i'm stuck.

Me: What's on your screen right now?

C: um...Outlook? i can't click anything

Me: You can't click on CLOSE or HIDE?

C: the mouse doesn't work, it just beeps, nothing works - it froze

Me: Nothing works? You'll have to reset your computer in that case.

C: Huh?

Me: Press the reset button on the CPU.

C: Theres two of them (long pause) it doesn't do anything.

Me: You have two reset buttons? Where are you looking at?

C: They're next to some more of them says (spelling it out) D-E-G-A-U-S-S. is that it?

Me: Ma'am, thats your monitor, the reset button is located on the CPU...

C: i don't see it. escape? OH!!!!!!!! the BIG BOX thing!

Me: yeah, the big box.

i love my job, really i do :)

a co-worker suggested that computer users be required to pass a test before using one....i wonder why???

Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I do tech support for a medium-sized home builder in Southern California and get a lot of bad calls, but this one was probably the worst...

A sales manager at one of our projects calls and says her printer isn't working. I go thought the steps, asking her if it's plugged in, any error messages, are the lights on, is there paper in it, and so on. She assures me that everything is fine, it just won't print. I check the print queue and see that everything is sitting there and won't print. I empty the queue and ask her to print again but it still just sits there. Thinking that the printer is bad, I drive out to the project 40 miles away to look at it. Arriving at site, I look at the printer, and what is the first thing I see? IT'S OUT OF PAPER!!!I put paper in it and of course it begins printing the 20 or so jobs in the queue. When I asked why she lied and said that there WAS paper in it, she said she was a sales manager and was too busy to be bothered with details like that and that loading paper into the printer was beneath her. No matter that I had to waste my entire day driving there and back. Maybe they should hire someone just to load the paper for her.

120MB of RAM in a 486?!
Posted 06/01/2000 by Tviokh

I had one guy on Wednesday(6/22/00) night who was convinced he had 120MB of RAM in his 486/33SX.

He had 8.

For some reason he had Win95 and Norton Utilities 2000 on that poor system. He called because IE5 said "You must have at least 12MB of memory to run setup"

Call is as follows:

Me:"Okay, how much RAM do you have in the system?"


Me:"120MB should be more than enough to install IE5...what speed is your processor?"

Cust:"It's a 486/33SX."

"Okay, sir there's no WAY you could have 120MB of RAM. The motherboards that the 486 chips go on don't support much more than 32MB."

Cust:"It's a custom built machine."

Me:"Sir, that doesn't matter. There is no way a 486 motherboard can have 120MB of RAM. I don't care WHO built it, it's impossible."

Cust:"But it's a custom built machine, and Norton says I have 11,200 megs. That means 120MB"(figure that out..even if it DID mean MB, 112 does NOT equal 120!!).

Me:"Okay sir, would you right click on My Computer and go to Properties"

Cust:"Wait, the machine's not on, I have to boot up"

5 minutes later....

Cust:"Okay, my computer and properties right?"


Now he's stalling..."You know, I don't understand why this doesn't work! I had IE5 installed before but I took it off because I didn't think I'd nead it."

Me:"When did you have IE5 installed?"

Cust:"About 2 years ago."

Me:"IE5 isn't that old."

Cust:"Well that's what the disk says."

Me:"Do you still have the disk?"


Me:"Read to me what's on the label."

Cust:"Internet Explorer 3.0 Setup"

Me:"Sir, do you see the difference here? Your old version was IE THREE, the one you're trying to install is IE FIVE."

Cust:"I thought they were the same. The other one worked, why won't this one?"

Me:"Because you need at least 12MB of RAM to install it. Have you gone into My Computer/Properties?"


"Okay, now how much RAM does Windows say you have?"


Me:"Okay, well there's the problem. You can't install IE5 until you add some more RAM. Good luck finding it though, most 486 motherboards take 30 pin SIMMS and they don't make those anymore. You could try to find them in a used computer store, or buy them off of ebay, but it probably wouldn't be worth the cost."(Okay so I have one 486 that takes 72pin)

Cust:"Well what if I take off Norton Works 2000? Will that free up some RAM?"

Me:"Sir, you only have 8MB of RAM to begin with, removing Norton will free up some harddrive space for you, but it will NOT give you more RAM."

Cust:"Well could I take it off and try to reinstall IE5 again?"

Me:"You could, but it won't work."

Cust:"It'll work, I'll delete Norton and that'll free up some memory and I'll be able to install IE5 then, right?"

Me:"No. You don't have enough RAM."

Cust:"Well, thanks for your help, I'll just uninstall Norton and install IE5."

The guy didn't even listen to a word I said!!! I'll bet he's still trying to install IE5 on that poor old computer.

That was a 30 minute call that happened TWO MINUTES before I was going to log off and go home!

VCR Settings
Posted 06/01/2000 by Mike S

This is not really a computer problem but, VCRs have chips

in them, right?

I work in a local College and the Faculty here all have

advanced degrees in their respective fields. I am

responsible for maintaining the Audio/Visual equipment on

campus (TV, VCR, slide projectors, etc.). I wrongly

assumed that the instructors knew how to use VCRs, i.e. set

the TV to channel 4 and turn the VCR on.

I still get calls from new faculty:"I don't know how to

use the VCR."

ME:"Turn the VCR on, turn the TV on, press play on the VCR."

We have already standardized on channel 4 on all the VCRs

and only programmed that channel into all the TVs on campus

yet there are still clueless users who attempt to change

channels, change the TV to the video input, etc. Some of

these users need to be constantly reminded for over three

months (over half the school semester).

Fortunately, there is always something new everyday to

make my day.

Posted 06/01/2000 by Paul

This story is one that I feel I have to share with my fellow techmen out there. I was an inhouse tech for a large European Retailer of Electrical merchendice a few months ago, and I've responded to a ton of incredibly stupid "Computer mishaps". This one however has since become the text book example used by instructors for the next generations of Techs.

Customer: That friggin PC I bought with you guys just wont work !!!

Me: Well did you follow the instructions!

Customer: Are you calling me STUPID !!! I'll have you know I'm one of your best customers.

Me: I'm sorry sir, I'm just trying to help with your problem. Now, can you tell me what you see on your screen.


Me: Did you connect the powercables firmly, and turned the main power switch on the back of your box.

Customer: POWER......?!?! (Click)

Just goes to show, there's one born every Kb/sec

Where's the uppercase 5
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

A few years back I worked in Tech Support at a Danish ISP.

On a very busy day (meaning that people had been on hold

about 30 minutes before getting through, so usually the

people with only minor problems had given up) I got a caller

asking me why we had sent him a letter with a password that

he could not use?

I asked him why he could not use his password, and he told me

that he could not type one of the characters in the password. I

asked him what character it was he could not type, and said

that I could probably tell him where on the keyboard it was


He then asked me "Where's the uppercase 5"?

I told him (ofcourse) that there was no such thing and had he

tried just using a "regular" 5?

He said "no ofcourse I have not tried a normal 5, it is clearly

larger than the rest of the letters".

I told him that he should just ignore the difference in size

and just type the number 5. He did as instructed, and everything

worked nicely ;-)

I then went to look at the default letter we used to send

clients with their password information (since I didn't recall the

numbers being printed larger than the letters). The numbers

on the form where actually the same size as the letters!

My first tech call for a new company
Posted 06/01/2000 by Morpheus Dream


I have just started work for a new company doing tech support for their Document Imaging and processing software. Basically, what the software does is this: A user scans in an invoice into the computer. The software then assigns the scan a name and places the file onto the server. The user then calls up the image, and indexes the image to a database. Simple enough.

I get a call late in the afternoon from our comapny's other techie that the company having the problem normally deals with. He tells me: they rebooted the server, and are now having a network problem. He thinks that it is because they tried to log onto the domain before the Server was completely up. He has told them to reboot all their workstations.

So, I call them up and ask if everything is ok. The manager in charge does not know, because all the users rebooted their PCs and went to tea, and are not back. So, I organise to drive out to their site the next day.

I get there in the morning, and ask if the problem is still persisting. Yes, they complain, it is still a problem. OK, what exactly is the problem?

So, they show me. When they scan in the documents, they do a batch scan of about 10 documents all at once, one after the other very quickly. Our software reads about the first 5 images, and then hangs for a while and the last 5 images shoot past really quickly, about 30 seconds later. Now, this is not standard operating procedure, but not a big enough problem to stop the whole scanning procedure over.

So, I start asking a few questions:

Me: So, did it work yesterday morning?

Them: Yes, perfectly

Me: What happened between when it worked, and when it stopped working?

Them: The server was rebooted?

Me: (Thinking: Why the #$#% did they reboot the server in the middle of the day?? There might be a serious problem on the server) Why was the server rebooted?

Them: Because they installed the latest version of XXXX virsus scanner.

DING! We have a winner! I went to the server, and included the image files into the Virus software's Exclusion list (we use a proprietry extension). Suddenly, the system works fine again.

The Server administrator then says: Funny, we did not have to do that with the old version of the software.

yes, the old version looked for 2000 viruses, this version looks for 35000...


Missing Key?
Posted 06/01/2000 by Christiaan VandenHeuvel

Me: Tech Support, how can I help you?

Customer: Yes, I just baught this computer, but I need some help writing an e-mail.

(I help her get into Outlook Express and open a new e-mail)

Customer: How do you type "This"?

Me: What do you mean?

Customer: How do I type "This"?

Me: T-H-I-S

Customer: But there is no "T" button

Me: Excuse me?

Customer: My key board doesn't have a "T" key.

Me: Are you sure?

Customer: Yes, I've looked at all of them.

Me: What about the key under the "5" and the "6"?

Customer: Oh, yes, it *is* there. Thank you!

True story from an ISP Hotline
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Hello there,

this is what happened to me with a lady calling the tech support from the ISP I`m working at.

ME: Welcome to (ISP Name) How may I help you

Woman: Yes, Sir.... I just got your access software via mail, and I`m quite disappointed by your service....

ME: Well how may I solve the problem then, just tell me please what has gone wrong. We`ll try to fix the problem.

Woman: I hope so

ME: Are u already a member, if yes just give me your user name and I`ll have a look at our database.

Woman: (tells me her user name)

ME: (recognizing the woman, it was me who sent the CD ROM to her) OK Ma`am....So you got our new programme....

Woman: Yes, but I told you....I wanna go online via my cellular phone....But you just sent a CD_ROM

The problem is that I do not own a CD_ROM drive for my Cellular phone....Now please help me installing the programme on my phone

ME: (long Pause) Well Ma`am.....

That doesnt need any further comment, am I right?

When in Doubt, Delete some Files
Posted 06/01/2000 by Allan Hunter

The girlfriend and I decide to get DSL from the local Baby Bell. Installation CD, Westel DSL modem, DSL service over exising phone lines services by the same company.

Pop in installation CD on the Mac and hit the "Go" button. Dialog box does basic s/w install, then informs me it is going to adjust my TCP settings. In anticipation of that, I'd set up a new TCP profile for DSL, lest it overwrite my PPP (POTS) or office Ethernet settings (it's a PowerBook so I switch around a lot). But the installer crashed unceremoniously at this point over and over. Amidst installer detritus left behind on the hard drive are connection and registration utilities, but although they launch I can't establish a connection. T/C to tech support. (I think they are using directory assistance operators for this).

Alleged Tech: "OK, then. I am going to have you delete what it installed and we will try again."

Me: "Yeah, I did that already, it hangs in the same place every time."

Alleged Tech: "Okay, open 'Macintosh HD'."

Me: "I don't have a hard drive using that title. Is the installer looking for a specific path? That's not good Mac installer behavior!"

Alleged Tech: "Your hard drive is called 'Macintosh HD'. It is the little icon at the upper right of your screen."

Me: "Yeah, well, mine is partitioned into 7 partitions none of which goes by that name, and the installation hard drive on which I am installing the software is not the startup hard drive. Do you want the one with the active System Folder or the one with the software folders?"

Alleged Tech: "System Folder, yeah, that's it!"

Me: "OK..."

Alleged Tech: "OK, do you see a folder called 'Preferences'?"

Me: "Yes, I do! Would you like me to open it?"

Alleged Tech: [has me open and look for 'Netscape' folder] "You found it? OK, throw that folder in the trash can"

Me: "Uh, maybe not. I'm already a Netscape user and it is chock full of bookmarks and cookies from years of use, OK?"

Alleged Tech: "You have to install OUR copy of Netscape or you can't run our software."

Me: [That's OK, I'll just drag it out of the System Folder where it can't be 'seen'] "OK..."

Alleged Tech: "OK, now find TCP/IP Preferences and drag that to the trash."

Me: "Uh...I don't think so. I have other IP settings and I'm not in a mood to lose them."

Alleged Tech: "You have to delete this file because the installer will create another one and it might be corrupted."

Me: {::drags TCP Settings to desktop::} "OK, I got rid of it."

Alleged Tech: "Now inside the System Folder itself, do you see a folder called 'Eudora folder'?"

Me: "Yes..."

Alleged Tech: "Delete that, too. Put it in the trash can."

Me: "Won't that erase all my email that I've been saving since the dawn of time?"

Alleged Tech: "I'm just going down the list. You have to put these in the trash and then we will reinstall."

Me: {::drags Eudora folder to desktop, too::}

Alleged Tech: "Now, in Extensions folder, I want you to delete 'MacPoet Module' and 'MacPoet INIT' files."

Me: "They never made it that far. All the extensions and libraries are still on the installation hard drive in a folder called BabyBell Backup. If they were supposed to be in Extensions, I suspect that's the problem right there."

Alleged Tech: "Well, as long as they aren't in Extensions now. OK, reboot please and hold down the Shift key."

Me: "You want me to boot with Extensions off."

Alleged Tech: "Yes."

Me: "Even though it will disable the CDROM drive and TCP networking services and access to Ethernet in general and so on?"

Alleged Tech: ".........uh, on second thought, just reboot."

Me: "OK"

Alleged Tech: [walks me through another equally abortive installation attempt]

Me: "Still doesn't work. Listen, about those Extensions..."

Alleged Tech: I have to transfer you to someone who might be better able to help you."

He wasn't. Next tech repeated the entire process. Eventually I dragged the orphaned Extensions files onto the System Folder and rebooted and it connected without problems.

Do these idiots think no one could possibly have had Netscape, Eudora, or TCP connectivity settings prior to the installation of their software package???

Just the fax, mam
Posted 06/01/2000 by "tech support, reboot please"

Might make someone smile....

you know those monday mornings, where its just not worth the hassle sometimes?.. Anyways, Im sitting in tech support one morning, anyway, the phone goes, and can I swap a fax machine? - the reason why? - All the faxes are sitting in the memory, and we just need the replacment fax unit to get the faxes printed out....


Illegal operation
Posted 06/01/2000 by Tina Gunther

I am a Library Cataloging Technician at a university in Southern California. Part of my duties include handling the Reference Desk a few hours each week, and being available to back-up whoever is on the Reference Desk if something comes up that is within my areas of expertise. Whoever is on Reference duty is also the first line of response when someone has a problem with one of the PCs on the LAN near the Reference Desk.

One afternoon I got a call from the person on Reference duty. She was speaking in a hoarse whisper, which was rather unusual for her.

"One of the computers on the Reference LAN has a message I've never seen before. The Reference Supervisor is not here and the other people I would ask are all in a meeting, so I called you. The guy who was on that LAN workstation got up and left suddenly. Now the screen says that an illegal operation has been performed. What should I do? I thought about calling Campus Security, but the guy is gone and the computer doesn't say what the illegal operation was."

I told her that I was glad she had checked with me first and reassured her that Campus Security would not be needed.

No Title
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

(tech) Thank you for calling BlahBlah technical support. This is me, how may I help you?

(EU) Hello. I just got a computer. I have a question, tho.

(tech) Go right ahead, sir.

(EU) If I talk in my mic, can everyone on the internet hear me?

(tech) Errrr... no.

(EU) Then I'm taking it back! That *@&^ salesman at the store told me I could talk with anyone in the world with this *^$#@^*^ thing!!!

(tech) Good luck to you sir. You're going to need it.

Whats in a Name
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for a large ISP ( name withheld ). Sitting at my pod waiting for that dreaded ( Pong ) a prompt we get before we get an incoming call. I answer: Thank you for calling ******* ****** technical support. My i have your first and last name please.

Cust: NO

Tech: Mamm may i have your first and last name please.

Cust: NO. You people said you would never ask me for that.

Tech: Mamm, we will never ask you for your password or billing information, but we do need your legal name for are data base so i can bring up your information to be able to help you.

Cust: Anwsers replies again: You people said you would never ask me for that.

Tech: Mamm, As i stated before, what i need is your legal name, as in..... Jane Doe.... Ect.

Cust: If i give that to you someone will steal my account and use it.

Tech: At this point i realize i am dealing with a total MORON and i'm looking for some way to terminate this call ASAP. Again i say to her, " Mamm, If you wont give me your name i will not be able to help you.

Cust: You people are liars. You say you will never ask for my name and now you want it.

Tech: ( Click )

I had to hang up and go have a smoke after this one. How stupid can someone be. You have to wonder what this person does when she calls her bank or phone company for service. She must get hung up on constintly.

Get down, turn around, and ... stop.
Posted 06/01/2000 by Vicky Sharman-Finlayson

This isn't really a tech tale, but it sort of qualifies.

A few years ago when line dancing was the big thing and

Billy Ray Cyrus was a god, someone at work (I'll call her

"Jane") sent out an e-mail offering to teach line dancing

after work. It sounded like fun, so I showed up at the

cafeteria for the first lesson along with about 10 other


I was a little surprised when Jane popped a "Learn to

Linedance" video in the cafeteria's VCR. After all, I

could have done that myself at home. I thought that a

resident expert was going to teach us. Oh well, it should

still be fun.

So Jane started the tape going. The guy on the tape got

past his speal about how he was going to each us the Achy

Breaky, and off we went. We weren't very good at following

his steps right off the bat, so Jane said "Hold on, let's

try that again." She walked over to the VCR, hit STOP,

hit REWIND, and hit PLAY. Oops, she'd gone back too far.

So she hit STOP again, hit FAST-FORWARD, and hit PLAY.

Oops, now she'd gone too far forward. So she hit STOP

again, hit REWIND, and hit PLAY.


We all looked at each other in puzzlement - even the most

non-tech savvy of us knew that the easiest way to quickly

find the spot you want on a videotape is to rewind while

the tape is playing, so that you can tell where you are by

what's on the screen. Apparently Jane didn't know this,

however. She apparently didn't know what that little device

in her hand was for, either, as she did all of her

stop-rewind-play on the VCR itself.

She finally found the spot she wanted, so we started

dancing again. Once again, we didn't do a very good job.

Once again, she walked over to the VCR, hit STOP, hit REWIND,

hit PLAY, oops, hit STOP, hit FAST-FORWARD ...

It was one of the longest hours of my life, and the one

thing it wasn't was fun. We tried to tell her that there

was an easier way to negotiate around the videotape, but she

just looked at us blankly and kept doing what she was

doing. We eventually gave up.

The following week Jane sent out her "let's learn how to

linedance" invitation again. I heard later that she was

bewildered when no-one showed up.

old geezer
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Some years back I wrote software for cash registers in the fast food


A regional supervisor called me to complain that the cash drawer totals

were way too high - there was never as much money in the drawer

as the register indicated there ought to be.

When pressed for details, he admitted that there were a

number of NO SALE transactions on the archive tape.

I explained that his handcuff interface was faulty, and that

he needed to watch the registers for an hour or so.

The next week he called back, elated to report that not only

was the cash shortage fixed, but they weren't showing a meat

shortage any more, either, since the light fingered grill guy

was removed from the premises.

PCI slot, what PCI slot
Posted 06/01/2000 by bofh... who me?

I work for a company where the majority of users are fairly PC literate (honest)... however, about a week ago a guy came to see me to say he'd plugged a SCSI Zip Drive into an Macintosh G3 and now it wouldn't boot. So I think "hmmm" but grab my boot CD and follow him..

When I get to the machine it's flashing a question mark at me in a typical I can't boot kinda way. So he's not lying yet.

I boot from CD and sure enough the machine can't see the hard drive....... now how does plugging an external Zip Drive into a SCSI port stop a machine from booting when it's not even plugged in anymore.

So I whip the lid off the machine and, oh, the PCI SCSI card is resting on the motherboard !

So I say "errmmm... all you did was plug the drive in??"

And the *&$%*( says "oh yeh, when it didn't work I opened the machine and unplugged the card...

How on earth did he think that was going to fix it???

Posted 06/01/2000 by Michael

Customer) Doe's my computers have a power point?

Engineer) What type of power point do you want Madam? The computer come with a nomal power lead.

Customer) The one in the office. I was told there was in my office.

Engineer)*Pause, scratches head" Madam do you mean Microsoft Office?

Customer) Yes.. office.

Posted 06/01/2000 by Corey M. Weldon

I was working remote support for a company. If the situation required, we would go on-site site to remedy the problem.

A client called to complain of the printer not printing. We went thru the normal steps of troubleshooting, power, paper, and even the UNIX code to reassure all was well. Nothing worked.

Got to the customer site, 200 miles away, and boy oh boy, that was the hardest stack of paper I have ever loaded in my life.

Blurry Monitor
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for a large Canadian Government Service Desk and receive numerous calls from desparate clients.

Back in April, this client called up and indicated that the screen was blurry.

We sent a tech to the client site took one look at the monitor and it was fine.

We looked at the client, turned around got a tiny screwdriver.

Proceeded to repair lens in eyeglasses. Clinet now reports that he can not only

focus on his monitor but on other things as well.

Case Closed

No Title
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I used to work in a major UK PC retailer. We sold the things but were not tech support. However, this didn't stop people phoning us when they couldn't get through to the tech support lines.

One of the best calls we got was from a gentleman who could not get his CD drive to work. My friend ( who was speaking to him ) said he would try to help but not if it got "too technical". Anyway, the guy was putting discs into the drive and getting no response from the machine ( apart from it telling him that there was no disc in the drive ). After a while, everybody in the place had been consulted on the subject in case they knew what the problem was ( it was a slow day! ).

Finally, we had to admit defeat. The customer was becoming irate ( as was common ) and was threatening to dump the system on our doorstep ( as was also common ). At the last moment, and I'm not quite sure how he stumbled on this, my friend discovered that the discs were being placed in the drive upside down! With discs in label side up the machine worked perfectly.

Obviously the customer had never owned an audio CD player prior to purchasing his PC!

Return that Rental
Posted 06/01/2000 by Wayne

Im not sure if this fits into your website or now but, i was a salesman at a computer company, My boss decided that there was big money in renting Porn CD's. We found very shortly that it was big business. On one occasion this certain customer had rented numerous titles from us, he was always late as we could tell through the logs we kept. But this particular time he had an over due CD for a couple of weeks, I kept calling and calling his office to remind him to return it, but no response. Well I got creative and called his home. Here what went on

W: Wife

M: Me

M: Hello is Mr. Jones there

W: No im sorry hes not hes at work can I help you

M: Yes its Wayne from A computer company calling he has an over due Rental from our store and we require it back. We have tried contacting him numerous times and the rental is 2 weeks over due.

W: A computer store? What do you rent?

M: We rent Computer Cd's

W: Like music?

M: No they are porn CD'S


M: Yes as of right now your husband has over due Massive Melons.

W: You can hear muttering in the background.

M: Yes Mam he also has rented, Titanic Titties, Bouncing Baby's and Hooters House.

W: I will be sure to have him return the CD to you today.

M: Thank you and there is an over due charge of 40.00 for it he might as well purchase it since the charge of more than the CD

W: No I dont think he will be obuying it, thank you for you letting me know.

W: ( HEH ) Your quite welcome!

Needless to say we got the CD back in a few hours, he was quite angry, and asked who called his home to return the CD. HEH I hate being this bad.. LOL ROFLMAO


Posted 06/01/2000 by Steve Davis

So I go over to update some software on all the PC's

in one of our offices. I get to "Casey's" and get him

set up, I reboot and need to relogin.

ME: Casey whats your password?

HE: I can't tell you.

ME: Why not?

HE: We were told NEVER to give out our psswords.

ME: Casey, I'm a system administrator, I can even CHANGE your

password if I want to. I need your password to login to

check it before I leave.

HE: Nope, we were told to never . . .

ME: Yeah, yeah, yeah, just log it in for me (as I slide to

the side to let him sidle up to the PC keyboard).

Now Casey has real thick glasses and needs to be real close

to the keyboard and monitor, practically sticks his face

in both to see 'em.

So he looks around and around the keyboard and finally finds

the M key, he pronounces it out loud and stabs it with his

forefinger. He looks around and

around the keyboard and finally find the O key like 5

seconds later and says out loud "O", he looks around and

around the keybord for anoother 4 or 5 seconds and hits the

O key AGAIN and says it out loud.

This goes on for almost a full minute, which is an

excruciatingly long time when waiting like this -


his password is MOONPIE.

I guess he can't TELL anyone his password but spelling it as

you type it must not count :)

Then you have reeeeal problems...
Posted 06/01/2000 by Fletcher Adams

I work tech support for a large EDI provider (no names, but It's Big Money).

I got a call from a lady this afternoon that took the cake. As per normal, I

started out the call asking for a little basic information.

Me: Could I have your account and user ID, please?

Her: (pause) I'm afraid I don't have any of that.

Me: I'll need that information to help you.

Her: Hmmm... I realy don't know (then proceeds to tell me what the problem

is, giving me details that make me think this isn't even the right helpdesk).

Me: Ma'am, is there perhaps anyone else there who could provide some more information?

Her: (serious voice) Oh, no, I know this system better than anyone else here.

After resisting my efforts at prying loose anything of value, she finally allowed as how she was

getting an "Illegal Operation" message. I asked if anyone had installed any new software or hardware.

She replied, "Oh, yes, they're always upgrading this machine."

I took the coward's way out. I blamed her software and the people doing the upgrades, thanked her and disconnected.

"Username ...Star star star star "
Posted 06/01/2000 by Alex

Occassionaly I go back to work about 7pm for a couple of hours to finish repairs and do accounts etc.

Just the other night I had just completed repairing a PC when the phone goes. The person is IRATE, and thinks they know it all. Great just the person I like dealing with at 9PM.

me : "blah blah blah Alex here..."

luser : "Why can't I log into the Internet? I signed up with you guys the other day. I'm going to cancel and go elsewhere".

me : "Okay, can you tell me what your username and password is, and I can check it..."

The luser gives me their login and password ...

luser : "USERNAME"

me : "Uh hang on, thats not right!"

luser : "YES IT IS - It tells me to enter my USERNAME"

me : "No, thats not it - What did you sign up as?"

luser : " (blah) "

me : "Okay okay, type that in the USERNAME field. What are you using for a password?

luser : "Star .. star .. star .. star .. star .. star .."

At this point I dropped the phone in a fit of laughter.

No Title
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I was doing support for a notebook manufacturer in Ottawa, Canada.

I forget why, but a older customer needed a replacement part. I think it was a PCMCIA card... but I can't be sure. This man was from a small town in Newfoundland, Canada.

All support was being handled via E-mail. After a thread of about 6 E-mails, the gentleman agreed to purchase the new component. My last E-mail to him was to get his address.

His reply was very detailed instructions on how to get to his house. Including instructions like "two miles down the road you will pass a big yellow house. Turn right there, etc, etc"

The customer was also curtious enough to include a crude map drawn in MS-Paint.

After another E-mail I got his mailing address.

We had that E-mail on our wall for the whole time I was there. It brought a smile to my face everytime I looked at it.

The letter 9
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for an ISP in Australia, and have whiled away many and hour reading through your site.

In fact, a number of times I have been reading these stories and had to put the customers on hold to stop from laughing.

Now I have had some pretty stoopid customers in my time, but i think this guy takes the cake.

He was a new customer, and just needed to have his pc configured.

So, we are in dialup networking:

Me: Double-click "make new connection"

Him: okay

Me: The name of the computer you are dialling is *ISP name*

Him: Yep, okay.

Me: Click "next"

Him: Okay.

Me: Now, the phone number is 12345678

Him: Hang on, okay, i've got 1

Me: 234

Him: wait, okay, 2

me (wondering what the hell he is doing): 345

him: slow down... okay, 3

me: 4

him: okay

me: 5

him: it won't fit.

me (thinking he has put it in area code): It is phone number, yeah?

him (very rudely): yes.

me: okay, can you read back to me what you have in there?

him: o-n-e t-w-o t-h-r-e-e f-o-u-r f-i-v

me: can you hold the line for one second?

This guy was spelling out the numbers.

Needless to say, this story was around the tech support department like wildfire.

It took me about 5 minutes to compose myself to talk to him again.

I have a WHAT?
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Cable modem arrives at house, I immediately test it w/ it

with the machine closest to my wiring closet (the fact that

I have a wiring closet may or may not give you a clue as

to my geek-factor). Works GREAT!!!!

Immediately move cable modem to the port on the patch panel

for soon to be firewall. I spend the next 30 minutes trying

to figure out why the world it's not working (including the

pouring over the docs part). So I call tech support, I

explain what I did & ask:

"You folk aren't mapping mac addresses to ips are you?"

There's a pause, some scrabbling at a keyboard, then I hear:

"uh, according to our records, you have a pc, not a mac..."

Tech Email
Posted 06/01/2000 by Travis Ogden

"I am trying to send an email message to Keeps coming back with unknown address. I have been sending to that address for over two years, what is wrong with your system. ??"

Tech call
Posted 06/01/2000 by Travis Ogden

Tech: Hello this is * how may I help you?

Cust: I'm on my way over.

Tech: Over? Are you going to come pay a bill or


Cust: No, I'm going to come over and kill you all

with a shotgun.

Tech: Why would you want to do that?

Cust: Because you all can't get my billing straight...

Tech: Well, if you killed all of us you would kill allot

of people who had nothing to do with your billing

problems, like tech support for example...

Cust: Ok, so I won't kill tech support.

*Hanging Up*

Tech call
Posted 06/01/2000 by Travis Ogden

Entered in Help desk log:

She tried to get her email and it was taking a long time

so she thought she had the happy99.exe virus. She exited

out of windows into dos and deleted a few things - turns

out she just had a large email and not a virus after all.

I am suspecting that she deleted some vital system files

or the windows directory itself. She is curious why it wont

boot into windows I told her to type exit or win and neither

works. It tries to load then comes back to Dos. I told her

she probably deleted the wrong things (specially since there

was no deleting needed and she didn't have the virus) and that

her computer would most likely need to have Windows re-installed.

White Flags
Posted 06/01/2000 by Travis Ogden

Entered in the helpdesk:

Customer: My desktop is filled with white flags!

Tech Remarks:

I asked him how they got there and he said his computer was

trying to dial up - it never did - and then all of a sudden

the screen went black, when it came back there were little

white flags that covered ever icon on his desktop. I

instructed him to surrender.

Posted 06/01/2000 by Travis Ogden

Tech call:

Customer: "Hi, um, I want to download games and

programs off of my friends computer."

Tech: "Did you know that is illegal?"


Posted 06/01/2000 by Travis Ogden

Tech call:

Customer: "Hello, I need help the Happy99.exe virus has

ravaged my computer."

Tech: "Oh, well that's easy, we just have to rename a

couple of..."

Customer: "Actually Windows won't load up..."

Tech: "Oh... What happened? That's not something that

virus does..."

Customer: "Well, I had seen someone delete the virus before

so I thought I could do it. I no that the virus

trojanized a file so I went looking for it under

c:\windows I found a file called "" so I

tried to delete it. It wouldn't let me because

it said it was in use from that I KNEW the virus

was working on my computer. I restarted my machine

in DOS only mode and deleted it. Then I figured

it was still running through my files so I'd stop

it by deleting the c:\windows\system\ directory."

Tech: "Uh, k, and how did you do that?"

Customer: "With the deltree command."

Tech: "Oh, great... What did you do next?"

Customer: "Well, I realized that the virus had at that point

ravished my hard drive to the point where not much

could happen so I decided to erase my hard drive.

I restarted it and hit fdisk - I deleted both

partitions. But get this - then it wouldn't boot."

Tech: "Did you mean to hit format?

Customer: "Oh, well, I knew it was a f word".

Tech: "*CLICK*"

Soviet Missile Crisis?
Posted 06/01/2000 by Travis Ogden

This is an actual email a customer was trying to send out but had their email address wrong so the message was stuck in their "INBOX" when they brought their computer in to be fixed:


----- Original Message -----

From: [deleted]

To: [deleted]

Sent: Wednesday, December 08, 1999 1:03 PM

Subject: Parenthood

I don't know if this is working, but I think I launched off two soviet missels tonight and I'm quite certain they passed me in spelling and englesh because of my enormous breasts. Anyhow if you get this have a good day. If Larry Bartz from Ohio gets this, MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!


It's interpretation is left up to the reader, amazing.

Posted 06/01/2000 by Travis Ogden

While being "Santa" at an email Santa address:


Dear Santa,

I love you. I wish for a baby ferbey and a part of shoes and a real family that doesn't leave all the time like my dad does and some clothes. I would like a movie called "Scream 2."

love, [deleted]

Helpdesk entries
Posted 06/01/2000 by Travis Ogden

More Helpdesk entries:

Customer: How can I make a shortcut to it.

Tech: Shortcut to what?

Customer: I dont know

Tech: Um what seems to be the problem then?

Customer: My husband wants you to make a shortcut to microsoft

internet explorer.

Tech: Is there an icon on your desktop that says internet

or microsoft internet explorer?

Customer: Yes there is ones that says microsoft internet explorer.

Tech: Thats a shortcut to microsoft internet explorer.

Customer: Ok but how do I make his stocks come up.

Tech: You would have to go to your site for stocks.

Customer: Ok but how would I make my husbands stocks come up.

Tech: Hed have to go to the webpage where his stock information


Customer: I cant get it to come up right now.

Tech: Thats because you and I are on the same phone line that

the computer is.

Customer: Cant you be quiet?!


Customer: I said cant you just be quiet for a sec and I can dial

over the top of us it will only mean that you will have

a hard time hearing because of the loud screetching in

your ears but then we can be in the internet while talking.

Tech: Um Im sorry maam but thats not really how it works...

Customer: My husband told me that is how it works.

Tech: What does your husband do?

Customer: Raises cattle.

Tech: *CLICK*

More Helpdesk entries
Posted 06/01/2000 by Travis Ogden

Entered in the helpdesk:

Apparently Joseph loaned his account to this lady named

"Bessy" - an alaskan native.

Apparently she is extremely pissed off that our email

doesnt work to "everyone". She has deadlines to meet.

Her email gets through to all the servers but one.

I asked her what the error was that she was receiving

and she didnt know what an error was... I explained the

definition of error to her and explained "error message".

She was under the impression that we could "go into der

computer and fix der computr" - I told her that was not

possible. She told me that Joseph had told her that we

did that often to help him.

I suggested she might have mistaken what he had said

and that we had gone through his settings over the

phone with him several times.

Anyway after about a half hour I got her to read off

the error she got back.

The problem is - the email address she is sending to

either has a typo in it or the server has been removed

or is down for servicing. It is giving the "email

address must have a valid domain". I tried to explain

this to her but she said that it must be correct becuase

it is the address he sent it from...

Boy she didnt like my trying to tell her that the email

address that he was sending from was probably incorrect

and in need of trouble shooting by his isp.

Bottom line was that she just didnt believe me.

She threatened to send the bill for her time that she

hasnt been able to send to this address. I told her that

we would be unable to pay such a bill since the problem

wasnt even on our server.

Finally I had an idea... I sent her an email from my

bsd box at home - from and

asked her if that was my real address...

She thanked me and told me she understood... Shell call

her friend now and have him contact his isp to have them

look through his reply to address. Heh.

Omnipresent ISP
Posted 06/01/2000 by Travis Ogden

Customer: My son deleted some uh cookie site

addresses and now I cant search on the


Tech: Which search engine are you attempting

to use?

Customer: I click on search.

Tech: Uh ok what website are you on when you

attempt to search.


Tech: Ok we actually dont own MSN - it is owned

and operated by Microsoft so I do not know

what search criteria they have setup or

what they have in their search database.

Customer: Ok but why wont my site come up when I

enter it?

Tech: Are you entering it in that search site

on MSN?

Customer: No.

Tech: Ok where are you entering it then?

Customer: In my windows.

Tech: Uh ok what is the address you are trying

to search for?


*doing a ping and traceroute*

Tech: Ok maam it looks like that site is down.

Customer: Do you know when its going to be back up?

I need to get on that site.

Tech: Maam that site is in Hawaii and looks to be

owned/operated by a school - we dont have any

control over it. I have no idea.

Customer: So you cant tell when its going to be back up


Tech: Uh no.

Fuzzy logic
Posted 06/01/2000 by Travis Ogden

Customer: Hi Im trying to open a book on my C drive but

its not going. When I put in music cds it just

starts playing but its not bringing up the book

thing. I just would like to read it - can you

tell me how to open it?

Tech: I'm sorry maam we probably wont be able to help

out with that one. We are an internet service

provider and we only support internet services

we cant actually help out with system problems

like that.

Customer: Oh well thats not very nice now is it?

Tech: I apologize maam this is simply not something

that we cover. This would be like asking a

telephone company questions about your cable access.

Customer: I do have cable access.

Tech: That was an analogy ma'am.

Customer: Did you know that my computer does have internet


Tech: Yes, you are a customer of ours correct?

Customer: Correct so you should be able to help me with

this problem...

Tech: No ma'am reading a book off of your C driver or CDRom

isnt an internet issue...

Customer: Fine then...


Why can't I get my email?
Posted 06/01/2000 by Travis Ogden

Customer: I cant get my email

Tech: Thats cause you closed your account maam.

Customer: But I setup email forwarding on it.

Tech: Ok then they would forward your email that came to your

rapidnet account to your new account at your new internet

service provider.

Customer: So I cant check it here?

Tech: No maam your email has been forwarded to your new account.

Customer: So why cant I login?

Tech: Because you closed your account. When you close an account

you deactivate service for it.

Customer: Well thats pretty stupid.

Tech: Think of it as when you close your account at a phone

company. They shut off your phone.

Customer: But I paid for the forwarding.


Tech: I do show the account is forwarding correctly.

Customer: So how come when I check my email I get a window that says


Tech: Probably because BHFC hasnt setup your new email with you.

Customer: So how do I do that?

Tech: You would need to contact their tech support and have them

walk you through setting up their service on your machine.

Customer: You cant do that with me?

Tech: No maam I am RapidNet tech support not BHFC tech support.

Customer: So what am I paying for with you guys.

Tech: Email forwarding maam.

Customer: So what is that supposed to accomplish if my account is closed?

Tech: Forwarding your email from us to them.

Customer: Oh...

Tech: Yeah.

Phone lines
Posted 06/01/2000 by Travis Ogden

Background - this customer called in and said the computer

wouldn't let them dial and hasn't let them dial

in for the past two weeks apparently. We asked

them for an error message and she said "It won't

dial but it asks us if we want to." We suggsted

that she try and dial again and try to write down

the exact error message. She hung up and this is

the conversation that followed:

Tech: Ok did you find out the exact error message?

Customer: Yes.

Tech: Ok what is that error message?

Customer: There is no... um... dial... er dialtone...

Tech: Ok that means that either the phone line from the

computer to the wall isnt working or that the phone

line is plugged into the wrong hole in the modem.

Customer: Ok. Is the modem the thing that you put CDs in?

Tech: Um no maam that would be the computer.

Customer: Ok I found the modem.

Tech: Ok is it internal or external?

Customer: External.

Tech: Ok what does the modem say?

*Screeching noises*

Tech: Um no maam I dont mean what sound does the modem make

I mean - what letters are printed on it...

Customer: S-U-R...

Tech: Ok Maam I mean what do the letters spell?

Customer: Surge Supressor.

Tech: Ok maam that is a surge supressor otherwise known as a

power strip.

Customer: So thats not the modem?

Tech: No maam that is a device used to plug your computer

components into to be able to get them power and to

prevent power surges hence the name.

Customer: Ok.

Tech: Ok when you are looking at the computer look around

back of it. Look for a couple of small square holes

that are the same size and shape of the little plastic

thing at the end of your phone line.

Customer: Ok I found it.

Tech: Ok is there a phone line in there?

Customer: Yes.

Tech: Ok using your finger trace that line where does it go?

Customer: The wall.

Tech: Ok now back at the computer that little hole should

be marked with a word like: "phone" or "line". Which

does this say?

Customer: None of them... Is says surge supressor...

Tech: Ok maam thats the surge supressor again not the computer.

Customer: Ok - but where is the computer is it this thing thats a tv?

Tech: No maam thats a monitor. The computer is where you put cds

and floppy disks in.

Customer: We dont have a floppy drive we have a hard drive.

Tech: Ok... (wtf?)

Customer: On the computer there is only a headphone jack.

Tech: Ok maam I think you misunderstood me - you are looking at

the cdrom. The cdrom is a piece of hardware in the computer

which is probably a tower or a desktop machine.

Customer: Ok.

Tech: Ok look on the back of the computer now for two small holes

in the shape of a phone line end.

Customer: Ok I found two holes one is yellow and one is red.

Tech: Ok what shape are they?

Customer: Circle but more like a square.

Tech: Ok maam were looking for a square hole not a circle.

Customer: Ok there isnt one.

Tech: Ok then there might not be a modem installed.

Customer: This worked fine before.

Tech: Ok have you changed the machine or pulled any wires out

since then?

Customer: No.

Tech: Ok then there should be a phone line installed. Look for

that phone line.

Customer: Ok I found it again.

Tech: Ok what do you mean again?

Customer: I found it.

Tech: Ok where does it plug into.

Customer: The modem and the wall.

Tech: Does the modem have writing on it by chance?

Customer: Yes.

Tech: Does it say surge supressor?

Customer: Yes.

Tech: Ok maam that is a surge supressor not a modem.

Customer: Ok. Can you have someone sent out to fix the phone lines?

Tech: Uh no maam were not a phone company what problem are you

having with your phone lines?

Customer: Since we signed up to Black Hills FiberCom we havent been able

to dial.

Tech: Did they redo your phone lines?

Customer: Yes.

Tech: Ok then youll need to have them come out and fix your lines.

Customer: Ok can you do that today?

Tech: NO maam we are not Black hills fibercom.

Customer: But we called you to have us sign up with them.

Tech: No maam we are an internet service provider and are not

affiliated with BHFC.

Customer: Ok.

Tape can fix anything
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Quite a while back I was working tech support for a company that had a lot of people in remote offices. It was a breeding ground for tech support horror stories. Here's the top two:

1. We had a lot of salespeople that didn't like to take time out of their busy schedule to call tech support. So more often than not you'd have people calling from their car since that was the most free time they had. Which means that they're trying to drive, talk on a cell phone, and work on their laptop all at the same time. We got a voicemail from one guy that went something like this:

"Hi this is (name) and I'm having problems with my laptop. I'm getting this error that... well, let me pull it up for you. Hang on just a (loud tire screeching, huge smash). Oh, s****! Call you back."

2. We also had a few clueless people out in the field. There was one guy who wanted to connect his PC to the corporate network through the frame relay connection in his remote office. No problem. We sent him a stack of disks that ran through an automated install (Win 3.1 days), a network card, and a lot of very detailed instructions. He called back a couple of days later complaining that it didn't work. I walked him through all the settings on his PC and couldn't find a thing out of place. After a couple of hours on the phone we decided we'd try again the next day. The next day we walked through yet another bunch of steps including the "is it plugged in" step with no success. At this point I was stumped. It should have worked fine. Well I guess he wasn't too impressed with my troubleshooting because later that day he called my boss's boss's boss's boss (the head of the IT dept.) to shake things up a bit. Which means everyone in the chain of command above me had gotten their butts chewed and were all looking for _very_ quick results from me. So as a last resort I decided to have him overnight the computer to me. I promised I would fix it that night (no matter how long it took) and overnight it back to him. When we got the computer the next day I could immediately see the reason why it didn't work. Instead of opening the case to install the network card he had used tin snips to cut the metal cover off of the expansion slot and to clip the top and bottom of the card so that he could slide the card in the back of the machine. When it wouldn't seat properly (he had no leverage) he duct-taped it to the back of the machine to hold it in place. Needless to say management got a good look at the PC and he wasn't allowed to touch hardware after that.

Ten years experience
Posted 06/01/2000 by Bear

A friend calls me at home with a non-booting PC. He says he called his brother who has ten years experience in computing but even he can't figure it out. I asked if there was anything on the screen. He replies "Yeah, Non-system disc or disc error. Replace and press any key". Of course I told him eject that floppy that I know is in the drive & hit your spacebar.

I'm not slammin' my friend on this one, it's the bonehead brother who doesn't know what he should've learned on the first day of his "ten years experience" that has earned my scorn.

Pirated Shareware
Posted 06/01/2000 by Wolfgame

I used to work for an ISP in upstate New York, and we had our regular callers. Some would call with genuine issues, although most would call with some incredibly stupid questions. (Note: this is a great way to learn the psychology of users, and makes for great experience when you go on to administration)

In any case, we had one user who called as many as 3 times a day. He would have called more, but we threatened to delete his account if he called more often. But I digress...

One day, this user called up and the conversation went a little something like this:

User: Hi, I just downloaded some software, and it says that I can only use it for 30 days.

Me: You mean you downloaded shareware?

User: Right. I was just wondering what would happen if I used it past 30 days.

Now at this point, this guy had called me a couple of times that day, and was interupting my game of Quake. So, I calmed myself as much as possible and picked the phone back up.

Me: Well, on the 31st day, you will receive a warning that you've used the software longer than you were allowed. If you continue to use it beyond that, the FBI will visit your house and arrest you for Fraud and Software Piracy, which is punishable by a 6 year prison sentence and/or up to a $250,000 fine.

Did I forget to mention that this guy wasn't very bright?

User: Really?

Me: Really.

User: Oh then I had better remove it then. THANKS ALOT!!

Me: No problem, now you have a nice day and stay out of trouble.

Fortunately, this guy had a reputation at my company, and I had no qualms about telling this little tale to my boss, who gota huge kick out of it.

Oh there's plenty of space on the server...
Posted 06/01/2000 by Wolfgame

I work for a startup ASP in NYC, and to get things rolling we were installing Windows NT Terminal Servers running Citrix Metaframe on them. If you don't know what it is, it basically takes a Windows NT Server, and allows users to use it as a workstation from these "thin-clients" that are little more than a Network Adapter, Display Adapter, and Keyboard and Mouse Controller.

One of our clients had just purchased a IBM Netfinity 500 with dual PIII-550s and 1GB of RAM. They also had something like 75 users. I would also like to point out that this is one of the largest churches in the country, or moreso, they run a lot of churches in the country.

So I walk in and take a look at the server. Everything seems fine. Permissions are fine, and I had asked one of the other techs to check disk capacity. He said there was plenty of space left on the drive. Did I forget to mention this guy is an MCSE?

After poking and prodding at the server for awhile, one of the users decided to harass me asking if I could take a look at his Outlook (actually OE, but regardless). He said it wouldn't load anymore. I was frustrated, and confused, and figured I could use a break, so I went to look at his e-mail, and sure enough, it would not load and gave me an error that I had never seen before.

So I went onto Microsoft's website, plugged in the error code, and looked it up on their knowledge base. The error message was due to there being little or no free space on the hard drive. But the other tech said there was plenty of free space.

So I looked at the C: drive in My Computer, and sure enough, it only has about 12k left on it.(Note: a Citrix Server should never have a C: Drive. It should start much higher, so that client drive mappings will work properly, and the C: Drive that users see will be their own. Assuming they're connecting from a PC.)

I immediately check the settings in the Performance tab and found out that it had been doing Memory dumps to the System Drive every time that it would blue screen from not having enough free disk space. So I went into the System 32 Directory and deleted the memory.dmp, and disabled the option to do a memory dump on a crash. The user was able to access his e-mail, and when I got back to the office, I reamed the tech out for making such blatantly stupid mistakes.... but that wasn't the end of it.

A couple of days later, I got a call that the server was doing the same thing again, only now, I knew that it wasn't the memory dumps. Now I had never setup a terminal server before for more than 2 users, so this was a little different for me.

After poking around some more, I discovered that the user's profiles (All 75 or so of them) had grown to well over 200MB APIECE. Now if you've ever setup Windows NT Server before, you know that you can't create anything larger than a 4GB Partition for the System Partition, however, you can install into a pre-existing 7.8GB Partition, but this was not that case.

The Users directories had once again clogged the entire system. I spoke to my boss, and the office manager at this company, and agreed that I would take the server back to my office, and rebuild it over the course of the weekend.

After working on it for 72 hours, I got the server back up to snuff, and then some. The users are now locked down from installing ANYTHING, and have only limited access to the programs and directories that I assigned to them. All of their user settings have been assigned properly, and the server has not crashed once since then.

Lesson to be learned here: if someone tells you there's plenty, always ask for a specific number.

No Title
Posted 06/01/2000 by Chuck

I work for a company that manufactures medical equipment. One day the lady in our department who does most of the phone answering (I'm more the hands on guy...), pulls me aside and says that Sheila (names changed to protect the innocent), the president's secretary, got a disk stuck in her floppy drive... Wondering how she managed to do that, I walked over to her desk where she explained to me that a friend had sent her a "virtual business card" and the instructions said to put it in your disk drive. It took me a second, but I realized her friend sent her one of the small sized CDs and she had stuck it in the floppy drive! After I brought the computer and CD back to her, I showed her what that little indentation in her CD drive was for...

You didn't SEE the card. (Funny... neither did you.)
Posted 06/01/2000 by Herr Doktor

To explain, I work for a company that outsources tech

support to other companies. One of these companies that

uses our service is a SCSI card manufacturer. This story

involves me and a blind man using one of sed SCSI cards.

(NOTE: I'm not trying to degrade blind people in any way...

but you have to see the humor in this story I'm about to


I was answering tech calls and this guy calls informing me

that he has a defective card. I, of course, start to

troubleshoot the problem. While I'm on the phone I hear

a weird noise in the background. The caller informs me that

he's blind and that's his text to voice. OK... this is fine.

The guy manages to make it into his device manager and the

software informs him that "(BrandX) card is not functioning

properly". So I deduced that it must be a yellow

exclamation error when a driver isn't loaded right or

there's a resource conflict. So I have him bring up the

properties of that device. The dialog window for that

driver pops up, but the voice software doesn't mention what

error code he has or anything.

So here's where the dilemma starts... I can't really tell

him "Your voice software sucks. You suck. Get someone with

eyes for me to talk to." (god knows I want to.) But as it

turns out, even THAT'S not an option. His monitor is broke,

so even if there was someone there that could see, they

couldn't tell me what I need to know.

So I suggested removing the device from the device manager

and restarting. He did that and it restarted. Partially

unbeknownst to the caller, Windows Hardware Wizard had found

our card and was trying to install drivers for it. It would

be as simple as inserting our CD in the CD ROM drive,

selecting that drive and hitting OK. Could he do this?

NOOOOOOOO... because his voice software will not start up

before the windows shell can load. He referred to this

phenomenon as a "hangup". Not only that, but he couldn't

find the right CD to begin with.

Frustrated, I made a BS story that there was a particular

IRQ conflict and to solve that we'd have to make changes to

your BIOS and we're not authorized to do that and blah blah

blah... bottom line: Take it to a professional. He was upset

with that... but hey... do you know how hard it is to help

a blind person with a device that depends on the fact you

have eyes? (Kinda makes you think what would happen if YOU

lost your sight...)

Well... a few days later the guy calls back and I talk to

him again. He calls back INSISTING that the card was

defective. Being that I know what exactly is going on I get

bold with the man and state "Sir... the card is fine. The

problem boils down to that YOU can't install the drivers

for the card. You need to get someone there who can see and

has a working monitor to get those drivers installed." He

retorts stating that "You don't know that the card's not

defective. You didn't see the card." I muttered, "Funny...

neither did you." "WHAT?????" "Errr... what?"

(I still get hissed at that part of the story from my

office compatriots. Oh well... I'm a b*st*rd. I admit it.)

Well... anyway... we argue a bit over the card and he

demands a replacement for the card. I try to reason with

him that if he gets a replacement we're going to run into

the same exact problem. God forbid he take my word for it,

because he asked to talk to my supervisor. The super on duty

explained to him the exact same thing. The guy hangs up the

phone in frustration...

A couple days later, the guy calls in to order another card.

... I guess some people just don't learn. I guess that's why

people like you and I have jobs?

- Herr Doktor (Not really German)

Posted 06/01/2000 by john nichols

To make it short, a gentalman called me up and asked if non drivers could use his new PC. he preceded to tell me tha two of his kids did not yet have a license.

I want a refund
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

So this guy calls in and wants a refund on the operating system (windows 98) that was preinstalled on his laptop. He asks me how do I go about getting a refund on this operating system I am going to run an alternate OS. I proceed to tell him that I can’t give him a refund on the operating system its part of the package that ships with the notebook like the rest of the programs and hardware it comes with. He then tells me well the disclosure says contact the manufacture if you don’t agree to the following conditions… blah blah you know the one no one reads. I tried explaining we (the notebook manufacture) are not able to provide a refund you need to contact Microsoft. Well it was pretty difficult explaining it to him. Isn’t that the strangest thing you ever heard “I want a refund on my OS”

Might I suggest the church or faith of your choice?
Posted 06/01/2000 by Aaron

I do tech support for a major, major cable modem company (not naming any names, but their mascot is a character from the Roadrunner cartoons -- oops, damn, did that slip out? :)

The only software that falls into our support bounds, aside from the login software still used in some behind-the-times areas, is Internet Exploder v4.0 and above, and Outhouse Express 4.0 and above. (I know, ew.)

So I'm sitting there, and I get a call, right? The guy sounds like he's about sixty years old.

Me: Thank you for calling blah blah, my name is Aaron, may I get the first and last name, blah blah.

Customer: I think I've got a bad Outlook.

Me: ...

I wanted to recommend he try a few religious faiths and see which one worked for him. :)

The Caller Who Would Not Die
Posted 06/01/2000 by Sean McKissack

I work at a help desk for high speed internet access. On one particular night a customer started calling us at about midnight. Let's tell the backstory: This customer had issues with her set-up and we could not assist her because her OS configuration. Well, she's ticked about this and then her modem ceases to function. She then calls tech support DEMANDING a tech to come out RIGHT NOW to fix the modem. The tech explained the situation and gave her a ticket number.

She didn't accept that.

She wanted SOMEONE to come out and fix her modem right now...and she used "colorful metaphors" to prove her anger. It's midnight, there is no tech who would/could/was EVER going to come to her house and fix the modem right then and there.

Well, she takes the ticket and then cals back two days later. Now she's irate (more so) and tells the first tech nothing except "I want to speak to your supervisor" (feel free to plug swear words between every other word). This happens over 25 times during the night, and each call we state we need her name and phone number to begin the call.

Her response is: "I want to speak to a supervisor, you'rwe not getting a g--d---- other word from me. Then she'd slam the phone receiver down to the table.

This repeats and repeats, she even tells a supervisor off; demanding a tech out RIGHT NOW and saying we lie in our advertising about "fast speed". We yells at one supe for an hour and a half about the same thing over and over...

Eventually, it becomes a game on the floor, our own tech roulette with "THE LADY" as we referred her to.

One tech spoke with her over 18 the same night!!!!! My questiion: After you;re told the same thing for the 30th time...would'nt you get the hint...or hey, here's an idea: Call back when the office that handles tech roll-outs is open!

Is this luser a moron or a bright one?
Posted 06/01/2000 by One-Fang

Okay, so most lusers don't know you can actually open Word all by itself and then use File - Open to open a file. This one is a bit brighter.

A server alerted me that this user had a new virus on one of her files. I checked up on this virus and went up to install new version of regedit.exe and attempt major fixing.

Turns out she hadn't infected the computer. She'd tried to open the email attachment via Word, and got boxes and code garbage. Not knowing what else to do, she'd left it, not double-clicking on the file itself.

She was bright to know to open within Word normally, but dim to not know what to do when that didn't work. But hey, it worked out. She hadn't executed the file, hadn't infected the computer, I went back to reading techtales. :)

But any file name will work right?
Posted 06/01/2000 by One-Fang

User called - she couldn't log in any more. From anywhere. Shore'nuff, when user tried to log in, Windows wouldn't boot up. After some conversation discovered user had recently downloaded a self-extracting archive of Word docs about a game called something like Explorers of the Amazon. What did they call the self-extracting archive? explorer.exe!

All credit to them though, emailed the site and they changed it in minutes.

Hey, I'm the psychic help desk!
Posted 06/01/2000 by One-Fang

Are we all supposed to be psychic or what?

I do help desk for a small college that trains teachers and business students. Oh fun. Couple of brain-dead staff members on board. Did I say couple? I meant most. :)


Installed new software on three staff machines running win98. Had to log in as supervisor. Machines display last login username by default. Next morning all three ring me cos they can't get in. One doesn't understand why her password won't work (oh look, it's not your name in the field). The other two are slightly brighter, recognising that it's not their name. But not a one knew what to do, and not a one knew what their own username was.

2- (today)

User uses MS Scheduler as a diary. Sometimes, especially after a crash, it doesn't go straight into the diary file anda asks the user to locate it. User takes a minute or two to realise, with me trying to explain it, that the program simply needs him to locate his file again. Then asks me where his file is. ???? Gets agitated that I don't know. "How should I know where it is?" stuff, to which I'd dearly love to say "Well if you don't know, how the bloody hell should I?", but I like getting paid each week. We search C: and login drive H for file hisname.scd. Not there. Everyone names it after themselves. His is named after himself, seen it before. Can't find it. User getting more and more upset. Search for any .scd on any drive. User sees 'meetings.scd' and thinks that might be it. Chooses that file and lo and behold........

Sheesh. How can they be bright enough to change the name of their diary file but too dim to know where it was?

Oh, and don't get me started on the users that think the recently used file list in Word are actual files, not shortcuts. :)

Expect to be hearing more. Great site.

God Noooooo
Posted 06/01/2000 by Chris

The following is not a tech tale, but more a tale of words

taken WAY too literally.

My little brother (9) is working on his own website, and I

am helping him with it.

Around five minutes ago, my brother had just completed

scanning a picture of the Bavarian Alps, and was resizing it

and saving it. The computer was acting buggy and slow, so

the saving took a minute or so. Once that was complete, the

picture took on a greenish tint, (not abnormal for my

machine, it would look right on the website) I tryed to

explain this to him, but he (like usual) didn't comprehend.

Yelling, he asked "how do I get rid of the green?!?" In a

(rare :) ) moment of frusteration, I yelled "Just spit on

it!" From the depths of his inpetitude, and his mouth, came

a huge gob of saliva, which became firmly attached to the


Summoning my cat-like reflexes, I grabbed three or four

tissues from the box next to the computer. I wiped up the

offending material and deposeted it in the trash

receptiical. While in tears, laughing.

Is this really 'Tech Support'??
Posted 06/01/2000 by Leigh

I have been doing tech support at various companies and friends for several years, now. While doing phone support for a computer helpdesk I sat near a “tech” who gave some rather interesting answers to users’ questions.

One customer was asking about memory. “Well, sir, your computer has two types of memory: ROM and RAM. The ROM is actually your hard drive, and RAM is really just pretend memory.”

One of my customers was having trouble printing from his mainframe application. (Really he was using an emulation software program to view the mainframe apps on his PC) I had put the customer on hold to check with a co-worker when the “tech” from the other side of the wall came over to offer his assessment: “The reason he can’t print is that he is running a DOS-based mainframe application. And this is a Windows machine. Transfer him to the mainframe people.”

Just a few weeks ago, I had to call a helpdesk myself for some support. My computer was reporting that a file (ntoskrnl.exe) was missing or corrupted and that I needed to replace it. Since this was my first time installing Windows NT Workstation, I called for help to see what I might have done wrong. I had mistakenly contacted the Windows 95/98 helpdesk and the tech told me that I’d need to call another number to talk to a tech on the NT desk. She explained that the other tech would “walk me through downloading the file from the Internet, which is Windows 98.”

Ya know, sometimes it just scares me to call tech support! :)

What is the problem?
Posted 06/01/2000 by Leigh

Sometimes the hardest part is figuring out what the problem is -- even when they tell you.

Customer: “They just delivered my new computer a yesterday, but I think there’s something wrong with it.”

Me: “What’s the problem?”

Customer: “Well when I shut it down, I click Start and choose shutdown…”

Me: “Yes, that’s right”

Customer: “I click on Yes to shut it down and the screen goes blank, and then the machine turn off”

Me: “Uh huh…”


Me: “So…what’s the problem?”

Customer: “Well the machine just turns off. It doesn’t give me the message that it is now safe to turn off your computer”


The TAB key?
Posted 06/01/2000 by Leigh

Plenty of users have trouble following directions and finding the right key to press or button to click. But some have more trouble than others. One day I overheard a co-worker helping a customer fill in a form. It sounded so intriguing that I asked for the whole story afterwards:

Tech: “Now press the ‘TAB’ key to move to the next field”

Customer: “I don’t have a ‘TAB’ key”

Tech: “Its on the left side of the keyboard. Do you see it?”

Customer: “I don’t have a ‘TAB’ key”

Tech: “Yes you do. It should be just to the left of the ‘Q’ on your keyboard right above the ‘CAPS LOCK’ key.”

Customer: “I told you. I don’t have a ‘TAB’ key. All I have there is a T-A-B (spelling it) key!”

Tech: “OK, well, that will work. Just press that one.”

Is this TECH support???
Posted 06/01/2000 by Bart Kneepkens

Currently, I have overclocked my system by setting the bus speed to 75 MHz instead of the default 66 (yes, it's a Pentium 1, using the good ol' Intel 430TX chipset :)). All my attempts to set the bus speed to 83 MHz resulted in an unstable system. Lately, I heard that this was probably caused by my graphics card, a Diamond Stealth II. That's when I decided to e-mail Diamond Multimedia Tech Support...

(Note: I have removed any unnecessary signatures)

First e-mail (from me to Diamond):

Title: Stealth II S220 on a 83 MHz mainboard


I have heard that the S220 does not work properly on a 83 MHz mainboard; is this true? If so, is there some kind of workaround? Thank you.


Their reply:


This card requires at least 133mhz in order to fuction properly. Since you cannot overclock with a Pentium motherboard, there really is not a way around that minimum requirement. I would suggest upgrading your board to a higher speed.


My reply:


That's complete nonsense!

As far as I know, the S220 was first shipped in 1998. Back then, 133 MHz mainboards simply did not yet exist. And of course you CAN overclock with a Pentium mainboard! My S220 worked fine on a 66 MHz mainboard, and it still works fine now I've set the bus speed to 75 MHz and have thus overclocked my CPU. The problem is that the card doesn't behave properly when I increase the bus speed to 83 MHz.

I'm sorry if my initial question was not specified clearly enough, but your answer makes no sense at all.


Their reply:


We have not heard of this issue with the latest drivers. I would suggest that you check the version you have with the one on our websight.


At that point, I gave up hope of ever getting a useful answer from these people :( I mean, just look at their initial reply. And when the h#ll did I talk about driver issues? *Sigh*... (as in "websight"?)

Tech support is a fine thing... as long as the people providing it are capable enough.

Clueless Tech
Posted 06/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for a itsy-bitsy computer store, and we use Big Brown Shipping company for our packages. One day the software we use to create labels and process shipments goes beserk (comes with the account). The company collectively troubleshoots the problem, and could not come up with anything. Defeated, I had the pleasure of calling tech support...

Me: We can't send you the shipping data.

Tech: Are you connected to the internet?

M: Yes

T: Are you using a Proxy server?

M: (fairly impressed) Yes, we are. Are there issues with your program and proxies?

T: Uhm, yeah. Put in the proper settings and try again.

M: (Looking at screen) uh, there are only two settings for "proxies"; Proxy enabled? (yes, of course), and proxy address (correct, of course). Both are correct.

T: Well, check them again.

M: Okay... let me verify that the IP indeed is x.x.x.x and that we indeed are using a proxy... why, yes all these settings are correct.

T: Try unchecking the "using proxy" option.

M: ??? But doesn't that disable proxy support when I have clearly indicated that we DO have a proxy?

T: Please try it.

M: (I do as she says. Surprisingly it does not work.)

T: Let me check with my supervisor...

(On hold for 15 minutes. I decided to go and route the computer directly to the cable modem, and thus receive a "real IP from the cable company)

T: yes, le's try that again.

M: Well, I diables the proxy and am now directly hooked up to the internet.

T: Does it work? (obviously not, but what the heck?)

M: Uh, no.

T: Are you sure you have a connection?

M: Well, yes. I have an IP, and I can ping the DHCP server and request a renewd IP lease. It works.

T: Try it again.

M: I haven't done anything different since we last attempted, but we will try again. WOW! It didn't work!

T: Are you CERTAIN you have a connection?

M: (browsing the net) Well, unless these web pages have magically been zapped into the screen, I am forced to say yes.

T: Did you check the Proxy?

M: (!!???) Did I not just say that the computer has a direct connection into the net? There is no proxy!!

T: Sir, we need you to check the proxy serv-

M: Hello!? I just said that there is no Proxy! What part of NO did you not understand!?

T: Let me confer with the superviser.

(yet another 15 minute hold)

T: Sir? My superviser told me to have you check the Proxy server settings.

M: (I am utterly speechless for a full minute) Excuse me?!? Ok, as far as I see it, there are two things here:

1. The proxy setup is correct

2. That is a moot point, now that the computer is hooked up directly to the net.

Explain to me how checking these settings would help.

T: ...

M: Thank you. Your lack of knowledge absolutely disgusts me. I must congragulate you on finding the most worthless way to waste an hour of my time. Good-bye.

Damn that felt good. I am usually abused by clueless end-users, but finally being able to vent does wonders. I feel we are hit with a double-whammy as techs; we deal with idiot users, and when we need help, are advised my moronic techs. Is there no competent people in the world besides us?

Tales From Technical Support Index

Tales from the Techs
June 2000
  1. A fishy problem

  2. Monitor problems

  3. The REDO button doesn't work in MSWORD anymore...

  4. Hell hath no fury like a Tech scorned!

  5. Her confusion

  6. And on the Eighth Day, God said, "Let there be Jerks"

  7. Internet not working?!

  8. Modem doesn't work on Friday nights

  9. Programs jumping off screen...

  10. Pentium Processor?

  11. Sometimes you just want to cry....

  12. A comma?

  13. Printing the screen

  14. This is $%#@!$! UNACCEPTABLE!!!

  15. Clueless

  16. No Title

  17. Juicy Keyboard Story

  18. Cats and Computers

  19. NO ACCESS!

  20. Tales from the deaf, Part 1

  21. Tales from the deaf. Part 2

  22. Downy Soft Mouse

  23. The Hardest Login

  24. Plain as day - except for the user!

  25. Coffee, anyone?

  26. Call the cows home

  27. Computer Specialist

  28. MY STUFF

  29. Slownet

  30. phone number

  31. Why can't I connect?

  32. The Long wait,

  33. Power Mouse

  34. Going Through Loops

  35. Oh Mighty DragonSlayer?

  36. Password-Smazzword

  37. A Few More From the Deep South

  38. More Tales From The Deep South

  39. Magic Mouse

  40. The amaizing modem

  41. Technical Agent

  42. MSN Refugee

  43. Paranoid User

  44. Little things that bug a tech

  45. Insert CD Here

  46. Til the Cows Come Home

  47. Cordless Computers

  48. Now that's just sloppy workmanship

  49. English

  50. BIOS is Bad

  51. the missing CD?

  52. Call Center Hell - With smoke and fire and everything

  53. the biggest laugh I ever had

  54. It was FREE!

  55. The Future Of Education

  56. Busy lines

  57. Keep that hard drive clean!

  58. Illegal?

  59. Trial and Error

  60. From Hong Kong with Love

  61. People without brains

  62. Cute ain't it?

  63. She Don't Know Jack

  64. The dog ate my CD

  65. How big is that plug?

  66. Show me the Porno !

  67. No Title

  68. Am I telepathic?

  69. Mistaken screen

  70. You! Outta the genepool!

  71. No Title

  72. My forehead is flat because I bang it on my desk all day.

  73. The Lost Highway

  74. Power Punt

  75. A strange noise

  76. French Conversion IC


  78. No Title

  79. Email Error

  80. ????

  81. CQG Scapegoat

  82. Stupid Techs

  83. Floppy Floppy

  84. Wish my eyes were that good

  85. Alphabet UUoes

  86. We're from the cable company, and we're here to help you !

  87. Not supported

  88. The Accidental FDisk

  89. RTFM

  90. Double density Floppy

  91. Clairvoyance?

  92. the Blind leading the Stupid

  93. Internet Down

  94. "Magic" Ping

  95. Buggy Computer

  96. speed demon

  97. No Title

  98. Reg Rep

  99. Dumb user? Dumb tech!

  100. No Title

  101. Call Waiting

  102. The Mysterious Sound Comming from the mail

  103. Assorted Stupidity

  104. The South Will Rise Again...

  105. X Rated support??

  106. it's just too small

  107. The Big Box

  108. Aarrgh!

  109. 120MB of RAM in a 486?!

  110. VCR Settings

  111. POWER =#¤%"

  112. Where's the uppercase 5

  113. My first tech call for a new company

  114. Missing Key?

  115. True story from an ISP Hotline

  116. When in Doubt, Delete some Files

  117. Just the fax, mam

  118. Illegal operation

  119. No Title

  120. Whats in a Name

  121. Get down, turn around, and ... stop.

  122. old geezer

  123. PCI slot, what PCI slot

  124. Mick

  125. Paper?

  126. Blurry Monitor

  127. No Title

  128. Return that Rental

  129. Moonpie

  130. Then you have reeeeal problems...

  131. "Username ...Star star star star "

  132. No Title

  133. The letter 9

  134. I have a WHAT?

  135. Tech Email

  136. Tech call

  137. Tech call

  138. White Flags

  139. Illegal?

  140. Happy99.exe

  141. Soviet Missile Crisis?

  142. Santa?

  143. Helpdesk entries

  144. More Helpdesk entries

  145. Omnipresent ISP

  146. Fuzzy logic

  147. Why can't I get my email?

  148. Phone lines

  149. Tape can fix anything

  150. Ten years experience

  151. Pirated Shareware

  152. Oh there's plenty of space on the server...

  153. No Title

  154. You didn't SEE the card. (Funny... neither did you.)

  155. NON-Drivers

  156. I want a refund

  157. Might I suggest the church or faith of your choice?

  158. The Caller Who Would Not Die

  159. Is this luser a moron or a bright one?

  160. But any file name will work right?

  161. Hey, I'm the psychic help desk!

  162. God Noooooo

  163. Is this really 'Tech Support'??

  164. What is the problem?

  165. The TAB key?

  166. Is this TECH support???

  167. Clueless Tech

Past Tales from the Techs:
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